Charity feeds more than 120 Murray Bridge families each week

Poverty and food insecurity are major local problems Foodbank SA is helping to solve from a hub on Adelaide Road.

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About 120 families rely on Murray Bridge’s new food hub to fill their stomachs each week, Foodbank SA has revealed.

More than four months after the not-for-profit organisation opened the food hub on Adelaide Road, its chief executive officer, Greg Pattinson, made it official at a ceremony on Wednesday afternoon.

The place looks like a supermarket, but its prices are a fraction of those you’d find at a Coles or Woolworths, and basics such as bread or fruit and veg are free.

To shop there, individuals in need must get a referral from AC Care, the Salvation Army or St Vincent de Paul.

Numbers on a calendar show how many families have visited each day. Numbers typically peak when government payments come through. Photo: Peri Strathearn.

Coordinator Bronwyn Tyler said she and the 30 or so volunteers who staffed the food hub were kept busy.

“We were doing 170 to 200 (people per week) before Christmas,” she said.

“The highest we did was 80 families in one day.

“It’s nice to see them walk out with some food when they tell you they haven’t eaten in two days.

“Anything we can do to help, we’d like to do.”

Mr Pattinson credited the individuals and organisations who had made the food hub a reality, including members of the Murray Bridge, Mobilong and Tailem Bend Rotary Clubs and major donor BHP.

Together they raised $100,000 to help cover the costs of opening the hub.

“To me it’s a success story of what a local community can do if they put their mind to it,” Mr Pattinson said.

The hub’s shelving had come from Coles, Seeley International would soon provide air conditioning and the Murray Bridge council and OTR had also contributed, he said.

Among those who attended Wednesday’s celebration was former Masterchef contestant and Foodbank ambassador Mandy Hall, who cooked up a batch of lentil bolognaise from one of the meal packs available in store.

Foodbank plans to host more cooking demonstrations once COVID has passed.

  • Get help: Call AC Care on 8531 4900 or visit 29 Bridge Street; call St Vincent de Paul on 1300 729 202 or visit 11 Second Street; or call the Salvation Army on 8531 1133 or visit 1 Fourth Street, Murray Bridge.