A grocery store on wheels providing free and discounted food will soon be seen on the streets of regional SA to help families in need.
The RAA Foodbank Mobile Food Hub, a custom-built truck fitted out with shelving, fridges and storage facilities, will begin its tour of the state in the Riverland next week.
The roving Mobile Food Hub, supported by the state’s largest mobility organisation RAA, will be the first of its kind to operate in regional South Australia.
Customers are referred to the hub by local charities, schools and community groups.
They shop as they would in a normal grocery store, passing through a checkout counter at the rear of the medium sized truck. Bread, fruit and vegetables are free, and charities also provide the customers with vouchers to purchase a range of other heavily discounted food items.
Foodbank SA CEO Greg Pattinson said the food is sourced from Foodbank’s warehouses or donations from retailers, farmers and the food industry.
“Foodbank has long needed to have a food hub presence in the Riverland and other regions of South Australia. However, the distance between towns means it wasn’t feasible for families to have to travel to access food relief from a single Food Hub.
We know that families living in regional South Australia are 33% more likely to experience food insecurity than those living in metro SA. We know there are families in towns from Berri, Renmark, Loxton and Waikerie that are going without.
“The Mobile Food Hub for the Riverland will be a source of food relief for thousands of families who are experiencing hunger in regions.
“We cannot thank RAA enough for supporting this Mobile Food Hub, that will really hep us feed those in need.”
RAA is supporting Foodbank to purchase, custom fit, stock and resource its second Mobile Food Hub which carries 2 tonnes of stock.
Under the strategic direction of Foodbank, and in collaboration with welfare agencies, at-risk areas in SA will be identified and visited over the next two years at least.
RAA spokesperson Sally Warner said the Mobile Food Hub will help South Australians from diverse backgrounds and services, including those still recovering from the effects of floods, bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This service will assist people and families in need of food relief, who currently have little or no access to welfare services,” she said.
“RAA has served the community since 1903 and this is an extension of our commitment to helping South Australians dealing with adversity.”