FRUIT and veggies, bread and dairy have joined non-perishables on the shelves at Liberty Foodcare, after the non-profit shop teamed up with Coles South Tamworth.
The wider range of cheap or free food, plus word getting out, made for an even busier second week of trading today, founder James Ardill said.
The Liberty Church pastor said the crowd during the first two hours had been “like a tsunami”: 70 customers had bought more than 100 loaves of bread and more than 50kg of chicken, among other items.
“Obviously there’s a tremendous need,” he said.
The arrangement with Coles is through SecondBite, a national organisation that takes surplus fresh food from farmers, supermarkets and events, for example, and redistributes it to community food programs.
Mr Ardill said Liberty Foodcare would obtain short-dated fresh food for a “token price”.
It just had to be of reasonable quality – not necessarily perfect – and fit with the shop’s ethos of mostly healthy products.
“It has to fit in with our 80 per cent good and healthy ratio,” he said.
“We’re wanting to use this to increase the nutritional component of what we’re doing.”
He said the supermarket had quality control guidelines about what was no longer suitable for sale, and Liberty Foodcare would go over on a Monday and Tuesday to pick up “anything that’s suitable that meets our requirements”.
Mr Ardill said he’d even struck a deal or two “swapping food that people have got for food that people need”, such as a man who’d brought in his excess pumpkins in exchange for points to spend in the shop.
The shop had about five volunteers busy serving customers, signing them up to the program and explaining how the point system worked.
Mr Ardill said some customers had even offered to sign up as volunteers themselves.
The longtime pastor said he know how tough some people were doing it.
“If we can stretch their budget and help give them hope, that’s unbelievable.”
The shop is open on Thursdays from 9.30am to 2.30pm in the Robert St shopping area.
May 18, 2017: Shop gives grocery relief to struggling families
May 26, 2017: Liberty Foodcare official opening draws 75 shoppers