Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Food Assist is an Adelaide-based charity which provides food relief across several locations in the city and as far afield as Kangaroo Island, supporting more than 1000 people each week. Over the past seven years working with SecondBite, it has received a whopping 780,000 kg of fresh food and pantry staples.
Agency manager Bruce Kurtzer says the centre offers a range of services but food relief is its biggest program. The centre also acts as a hub for other food services, supporting up to 10 programs in any given week.
Bruce says, “We don’t have a particular demographic that we serve. We are open to anyone who needs support, whether that is migrants or people from non-English speaking backgrounds, through to low income families whose budgets simply don’t stretch far enough to cover nutritious food during the week.”
The centre provides fresh fruit, vegetables and bread hampers every week day, and with additional deliveries that come in from SecondBite and through its association with Coles stores in Prospect, Adelaide CBD and Rundle Place, they often get other items to add in.
‘Each week is different, so while we may have a large supply of fresh milk one week, the following it might be bolognese sauce. We don’t know what’s coming from one week to the next, but we always manage to get it to people who need it.”
More recently, Food Assist has been providing food relief to residents on Kangaroo Island, which was devastated by bushfires across two fifths of its land area two years ago. Bruce says many of the island’s crops still haven’t recovered fully and some residents are struggling.
A volunteer driver from the charity Island Care brings his van over on the ferry once a fortnight and gets it filled to the roof with whatever fresh and ambient produce is available at that time, and he brings it back to distribute it to the people and families who could do with a little bit extra. Another volunteer from Island Care is a qualified chef, so occasionally he will use the produce provided by SecondBite and Food Assist to make a large batch of healthy meals which are distributed to those in need.
Bruce says, “Unfortunately food on the island is quite expensive as it caters to the tourists who visit every week, and the prices are unaffordable to some residents still grappling with the recovery of their homes, land and businesses. Many think that things are back to normal, but there are quite a few people still struggling on the island and whatever we can do to help is important.”