Liberty Foodcare official opening draws 75 customers for cheap groceries

SHOPPING FOR LESS: Liberty Church pastor James Ardill helps keep the shelves stocked during a busy day at Liberty Foodcare's launch on Thursday. Photo: Peter Hardin 250517PHB012

SHOPPING FOR LESS: Liberty Church pastor James Ardill helps keep the shelves stocked during a busy day at Liberty Foodcare's launch on Thursday. Photo: Peter Hardin 250517PHB012

THE strong – but unsurprising – demand for Tamworth’s new non-profit grocery shop on its first day shows “how some people are really doing it tough”.

That’s according to Liberty Church pastor James Ardill, one of the founders of what he likes to call the “boutique supermarket” in Robert St.

Within two hours of officially opening, 40 people had done their shopping and by closing time three hours later, that number had almost doubled to 75.

The shop offers food and hygiene essentials for very reduced prices or for free, largely donated by Foodbank Australia and OzHarvest.

“It’s definitely needed; we’ve had so many good comments from people and other agencies,” Mr Ardill said.

“We’ve got a huge population of old-age pensioners, single mums and people who can’t find work, and they’re struggling putting the basics on the table.”

Mr Ardill said the income from that shop would help support the next-door Tamworth Mums, which receives donated baby goods and places them with needy families.

“We really want to make an impact,” he said.

“Driving around these streets, you see a lot of babies and a lot of single mums, and we want to give them a leg up and help them as they’re raising their families.”

Volunteer Cass McIlrick emphasised this was the approach.

“Our motto is to give people not a handout but a leg up,” she said.

Mr Ardill said reducing the financial pressure in people’s lives would mean they had more time, energy and money to turn their focus to other things.

“If I can give people and extra $20, $30, $40 in their pockets, a lot will put it into their homes – a lot won’t, I’m a realist,” he said.

“But think about a single mum who’s able to buy a better or an extra set of clothes for her kids … or is able to provide better nutrition for her kids so they won’t be sick as often.

“I’m not looking for a giant sign next week saying, ‘Yay, everything’s so much better now!’ … it’s a slow thing and has to be a generational thing.”

Mr Ardill said his vision was “to help thousands of people and transform what people think about South Tamworth, West Tamworth and Coledale”.

“Everybody will be proud to say they live there.”

  • Liberty Foodcare is open at the Robert St Shopping Village on Thursdays from 9.30am to 2.30pm.
  • Donations of food can be made by calling 0414 873 679.

May 18, 2017: Shop gives grocery relief to struggling families