Angels Community Group – A lifeline for Bundaberg locals as the cost-of-living crisis pushes many to breaking point.

One day, an 80-year-old farmer came into Sue’s food pantry in Bundaberg. He’d lost a lot of equipment and supplies in the Lowmead bushfire. With the high costs of the farm repairs, he now couldn’t afford to eat.

“This old farmer said: ‘I just need to give my wife something to eat’. And we said, ‘No worries.’ He sat behind our counter crying. He came back two or three more times for food and then came back a final time and donated because he’d got back on his feet. A man like him would have never needed help in the past.” – Sue

In the ninth year of Sue’s Angels Community Group – a Foodbank Queensland Member Charity – Sue has heard stories of heartbreak and hope like this from people from all walks of life, many who have never required help before. With the cost-of-living crisis escalating, these stories remind her that life can change in an instant – and this is why she does what she does.

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“Some people’s crisis is just at one point in time, and so they may not fit in with eligibility and criteria and that. They just need some help now. That’s why our food is for everybody. It must be for everybody.” – Sue

It was Sue’s own personal crisis that inspired her to launch Angels Community Group in 2014. Her niece had died in a car crash, then soon after Sue lost her job.

“I sat around for a few months feeling sorry for myself, but then I realised if you have a sense of purpose, you have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. I wanted to do something to help people. – Sue

Soon after, Sue and a friend launched a little secondhand store with affordable goods, but it became clear that the true need in their community was for food relief.

Foodbank Queensland and its generous supporters stepped up to help them launch a pantry, providing staples such as cereal, milk, canned fruit, pasta, meal bases, rice, and meat.

“In the beginning we had nothing. Without Foodbank supporters, we wouldn’t have been able to commence.” – Sue

Since then, Angels Community Group has grown rapidly and has become a thriving community hub. It offers emergency hampers and hot nutritious meals for those in need and runs a mini-mart that sells staples. Over 280 school lunches are prepared each week for students experiencing hardship in surrounding schools. There is also an online food store that provides disadvantaged people who are living in remote towns, the chance to buy affordable groceries, delivered to their door.

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Although Angels Community Group also receives food donations from other sources, Foodbank remains at the heart of all they do.

“Foodbank Queensland is extremely important for us to be able to stretch our dollar further. Demand for our emergency hampers has doubled in the past few years. I love the variety that we get from Foodbank.” – Sue

Sue admits running a food pantry during the worst cost-of-living crisis in recent history is exhausting and stressful.

“But as tough as it is, this is needed, and this is what we have to do.” – Sue

Recently, a grandmother came into the food pantry as Sue and the team were closing for the day. The lady was frantic and desperately needed food. She explained to Sue she’d just become the full-time carer of her three grandchildren that afternoon. But she had no food in the fridge and would not get her pension until tomorrow. The lady told Sue, ‘I’ve just had to turn off my daughter’s life support today – and I need something to feed my grandchildren tonight’.

It never gets easier hearing these stories, but Sue wants to share them with you, to let you know the incredible difference your donations make.

“You’re putting a smile on a child’s face who is eating tonight because of you. You’re giving relief to a man who didn’t know how he was going to put food on the table for his family tonight. You are making a difference to real people.” – Sue

If you are in a position to help Foodbank Queensland provide more food across the state to support Queenslanders in need, please consider joining the fight against hunger as a regular giver.