Foodbank SA secures site for food hub

Foodbank's plans for a food hub in Murray Bridge are progressing thanks to an $80,000, Rotary-led fundraising campaign.

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Foodbank SA’s Murray Bridge food hub will not open for several more months, but progress is being made behind the scenes.

The organisation has secured a site and will soon start fitting it out.

In the meantime, more than 40 staff from local welfare agencies attended a briefing at the Murray Bridge council office on Tuesday, where they learned about how they will be able to refer their clients to the food hub.

Although it will look and feel like a supermarket, clients will need to get special vouchers from other agencies to shop there.

As well as groceries, they will be able to pick up free fruit, vegetables, bread and picture-based recipes.

They will even be able to watch demonstrations of basic cooking skills, as Foodbank SA’s Leanne Malek explained on Tuesday.

“A lot of people haven't been exposed to cooking,” she said.

“Not everyone has a mum who stands there and peels potatoes and carrots.

“If you don’t know any different than to take dinner out of the freezer and put it in the microwave, that's how your eating habits are going to stay.

“We think it’s really important to have food education.”

The food hub will build on Foodbank SA’s growing involvement in the Murray Bridge community.

The organisation delivered the equivalent of more than 136,000 meals to families and school students across the district in 2019-20.

The 68 tonnes of food represented an increase of almost 20 tonnes over the previous year, and saved local agencies and schools $300,000 in the process.

However, demand is greater still.

Foodbank estimated that an extra 36,000 meals were needed in the district every year, even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rotarians proud of community's fundraising effort

The food hub’s construction was made possible thanks to a fundraising campaign led by the Mobilong Rotary Club which has so far raised more than $80,000.

Mining company BHP has donated $40,000 and several individuals have made significant contributions.

President Bronwyn Heard said the club, and the Murray Bridge and Tailem Bend Rotary Clubs, had chosen to partner with Foodbank because of its reputation for delivering on its promises.

“It’s non-sectarian, non-political, it adapts to cultural demands and they’re a worldwide organisation, so their credibility is huge,” she said.

Having a food hub in town would give dignity and anonymity to people who needed help, she said.

Project leader Wendy Gaborit said sites on Swanport, Hindmarsh and Maurice Roads had been considered before a building on Adelaide Road was chosen.

Foodbank will need about a dozen volunteers each day to fill a variety of roles when the food hub opens later this year.

Volunteers welcome clients, stock shelves, staff checkouts.

Anyone with good people skills, customer service experience, an ability to work in a small team and with a diverse range of clients, and an appreciation of client confidentiality is encouraged to express their interest at www.foodbank.org.au.

Subscriber drive

Murray Bridge News is raising money for Foodbank SA during July.

For every new subscriber who signs up by the end of the month, Murray Bridge News will donate $2.50 to the organisation.

So if you know someone with an interest in local stories, refer them to murraybridgenews.substack.com/subscribe to sign up today, or send them a gift subscription.

Alternatively, you can donate directly to Foodbank SA at foodbank.org.au.

Photo of Bronwyn Heard, Leanne Malek and Wendy Gaborit: Peri Strathearn.

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