Food supplies help ease budget pressure

FOOD relief became increasingly important for vulnerable clients during the COVID-19 pandemic, with our sites offering free supplies of fresh produce, baked goods and other groceries.

An ongoing partnership with national non-profit organisation SecondBite continued to result in significant weekly supplies to the Mount Gambier Community Centre.

Meanwhile, connections with businesses across the regions, including the Riverland and Murray Bridge, led to donated food being regularly available to support clients.

Under the partnership with SecondBite, Mount Gambier Community Centre team members, along with students from Tenison Woods College, collect food from ALDI and Coles outlets in Mount Gambier on a daily basis.

Items include bread, dairy products, meat, fruit and vegetables, which are made available for visitors to the centre to collect at no charge and with no obligation.

Many of these people are clients of’s homelessness and financial support programs, while others are in vulnerable situations and sometimes visit to collect food a few times before becoming familiar with staff and engaging with the agency’s broader services.

Donated food is also used by staff to prepare meals for clients and was delivered to vulnerable people in temporary emergency housing during COVID-19 lockdowns.

Bread supplied through the daily collections has also been used for making toasted sandwiches at the centre, which have long proven popular with clients who connect with staff and other visitors while pausing for a snack.

While special measures were put in place around providing food in line with COVID-19 restrictions, the availability of produce was vital to support community members who had lost employment or were struggling financially during uncertain times.

Collection of donated produce through the SecondBite partnership builds on existing supplies of food, including non-perishable items, provided through ongoing arrangements with FoodbankSA.

SecondBite provides access to fresh, nutritious food for people in need across Australia by partnering with retailers to divert surplus items from landfill to charities around the country providing food relief to people in need.

FIGHTING HUNGER:’s Sue Watt prepares meals from donated food supplies for a National Homelessness Week event at the Mount Gambier Community Centre.