Loaves & Fishes – Providing the steppingstones for struggling families and individuals to live a life without hunger.

Since 1995, Loaves and Fishes has been supporting those in need in their community, and the greater Brisbane area. It all began with Pastor Jock making a dozen sandwiches, boiling an urn for coffee and tea and embarking on a mission to help those in need. One such individual he helped in those early days was Scott. Scott recalls the first time he met Pastor Jock:

“25 years ago, I was a druggie sticking needles in my arms. I was trying to get off the drugs and doing counselling and the Loaves and Fishes founder had a street van just outside where I was receiving counselling. So, I wandered out, gave him a gold coin, had a sausage sizzle, a drink and a chat. He took me under his wing, and I just helped out, went to church with him and got off the drugs.”

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Scott, a signwriter by trade, began helping Loaves and Fishes with their signage at their centers. This began as a way to amend and balance out the evil he believed his life had included so far. But after a while the reasoning for helping changed, as Scott explained:

“After a little while I thought, wow, this feels really good. So, I kept doing it, but not because I had to make good on life, but because it just felt so good.”

The path that Pastor Jock led Scott on would only be the beginning of something greater. As of 2022, Scott took the helm of Loaves and Fishes as the CEO. Since then, Loaves and Fishes has continued to thrive as a not-for-profit charity with two locations, Slacks Creek and Caboolture.

For many years, Loaves and Fishes has been a Foodbank Queensland Member Charity. Foodbank Queensland has been an important partner in supplying Loaves and Fishes with the necessary produce and groceries needed for the important services they provide.

“Foodbank have always been a big part of what we do. We always have, because of you guys, an amazing trolley of fruit and vegetables.”  Scott

Such services include Loaves and Fishes Meal Program, which operates on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays between 11am and 1pm. This program provides nutritious, hot meals for those in need. Food hampers are also available, which are large boxes filled with all a family could possibly need for an entire week. These hampers reduce the stress for families trying to put food on the table each night. A Discount Food Outlet is also available where people can purchase groceries at a heavily discounted price.

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The combination of these services acts as a set of steppingstones to help those in need find their footing. The hope is that eventually they will no longer need Loaves and Fishes support and they can live a life without knowing hunger.

We’re a steppingstone ministry, or a charity.  If someone’s really broke, they come down for a hot lunch. If a family is struggling, they can come and get a hamper. Clients don’t get to choose the contents of their hamper; it contains what is available and seasonal at that time. Once they get on their feet they can then come to our Discount Grocery Store. When they get on their feet a bit more… Back to normal grocery stores. We’re just trying to get people back on their feet and back to mainstream.”  Scott

The success of these steppingstones is seen regularly as many people become less reliant on Loaves and Fishes services. As Scott explained, some people come in only once, others ten times and then some disappear. The assumption is that they’ve gone onto bigger and better things. Such as recently, a previous service user who had previously lost his business visited Loaves and Fishes to extend his thanks to the Charity, Scott explained:

“He came in yesterday, and gave out grocery gift cards to our volunteers, and donated $200 our charity.”

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These success stories are what motivates Scott and his team of staff, volunteers, Work the Dole participants and supporters. Through these services over 3,000 people are supported by Loaves and Fishes Slacks Creek and Caboolture each week. It’s clear that the need for these steppingstones is in demand more than ever. As Nicole, Floor Manager at Loaves & Fishes Slacks Creek explained,

“We are doing more than double the amount of assistance hampers than we were when I started one year ago.”

As the cost of living continues to rise so does the demand for food relief. But with the work Loaves and Fishes achieves each day, Brisbane residents have the necessary support to access a basic human right, food.

“If at least we help one person, like Jock did with me then this place is a success.” – Scott

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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.