Hawkesbury Community FoodCare offers cheap groceries for concession card-holders

A NOT-FOR-PROFIT organisation behind Hawkesbury Church in Windsor is helping make ends meet for a number of Hawkesbury residents that are doing it tough.

Hawkesbury Community FoodCare provides a variety of groceries to low-income families and individuals at a fraction of the price paid at the supermarket.

The service has been open for two years, and head volunteer, Zoe Mullen, said it has grown a lot.

“There’s definitely a need for this sort of thing in the Hawkesbury,” she told the Gazette.

“We have a lot of people who come in and say that if it wasn’t for us, they wouldn’t be eating so well - their kids wouldn’t have what they have.”

The service sources its goods from Food Bank in Wetherill Park, Sciberras Fresh in Freemans Reach, and a butcher in Penrith.

They offer bread, pies, frozen meals, milk, canned and jarred goods, meat and fruit and vegetables. Even better, the bread, fruit and vegetables are free.

Customers pay yearly a registration fee of $2, and show their concession card when joining. They put together their own hampers of goods, and a minimum of $8 must be spent per shop.

“We have over 520 members now, and we would average 43 families coming through on a slow week, and up to 60 families on a busy week,” said Mrs Mullen.

Mrs Mullen said FoodCare has developed into a community, and members can stop for a chat and a cup of coffee, as well as to do their weekly shopping.

“We supply free morning tea, so customers can sit and have a conversation with us. There are some now who sit have a have a cuppa and talk to other shoppers. A lot of older people say it’s good for the food and the social aspect of it,” she said.

Hawkesbury Community Services approached Mrs Mullen to open FoodCare two years ago due to her work with the Church.

“We opened the community shop as a place where people doing it tough on Centrelink benefits can buy affordable groceries,” she said.

“It’s very hard on Centrelink benefits to manage. Even pensioners find it difficult. We have the food they can buy and they get free bread and whatever vegetables we’ve been able to source.

“We’ve had a lot of people come in recently saying ‘I didn’t know you were here’.”

Hawkesbury Community FoodCare is open on Thursdays from 10am until 1pm. It is located behind the Hawkesbury Church on Brabyn Street, in Windsor. You can also find them on Facebook @hawkesburycommunityfoodcare.