Hume residents experiencing disadvantage and homelessness have received close to 111,000 meals during the past 12 months as a result of donations from local Coles stores.
Food rescue organisation SecondBite distributed the food donations to local charities including the Craigieburn Salvation Army and Tullamarine Community House, allowing them to provide food parcels and discounted meals to community members in need.
Tullamarine Community House secretary Catherine Short said the Carol Grove centre began offering food parcels and discounted meals two years ago when it was given the opportunity to join the SecondBite network.
Ms Short said the food donations were distributed to people from all walks of life.
“We have a large migrant and refugee population that came into the area about 12-18 months ago. We also have a lot of young families who need help, and our older residents need help too,” she said.
Ms Short said the community house served up about 20 lunches each Monday at its men’s shed, with an additional 15 lunches cooked up on a Tuesday. The lunches cost $5.
She said about 40 people contact the centre each week to enquire about food parcels.
“In the last 12 months, we have noticed [our supplies] are getting very tight and unfortunately we are not able to help everyone,” she said.
“I’ve noticed that wages are stagnating but the cost of everything is rising. We don’t have a refrigeration van so at the moment we are only able to provide fresh fruit and vegies and bread when it is available.”
Coles Victorian general manager Mark O’Connor said Hume shoppers had contributed close to $14,000 towards the supermarket’s winter appeal for SecondBite.
“We are incredibly proud of the Hume community for its amazing contribution during the last financial year.”