Community Friends provides food relief to more people than ever before

Community Friends is a local Brisbane charity providing free, life-changing food relief and support to the homeless, disadvantaged and people in need.

Founded in 2011, Community Friends provides essential food and groceries every Wednesday to more than 150 people and their families living in West End and greater Brisbane.

Sadly, COVID-19 is severely impacting Queensland’s hunger crisis, with Community Friends seeing many people, including casual workers and international students, being forced to reach out for help for the very first time.

To tackle the increasing demand in these two new groups, the charity has started an additional food run on Thursdays for TAFE Queensland to provide them with as much food as possible for their local and international students facing hunger.

Mark McDonnell, Community Friends Founder and Director, said the charity is experiencing very challenging times with more people seeking food relief than ever before.

“COVID-19 has resulted in a lot more work, which is why we now start setting up and preparing the food much earlier than we used to. It also costs us more money and requires more volunteers, as we now prepack all food into reusable bags, so people seeking food relief don’t touch the food directly.”

“Prior to the pandemic, people could pick which food they wanted. Now, they get two prepacked bags of groceries only. They don’t get the opportunity to go through the bags or say what they want or don’t want. If there is food left over, they can go through a second time,” he said.

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The charity also provides milk, bread, hot meals in takeaway containers, noodles, and small goods such as drinks and muesli bars in addition to the two prepacked bags, which people can choose to take.

Community Friends aims to give everyone enough food to feed themselves and their families for three to four days. However, one of Community Friends’ volunteers said, since COVID-19, they have been struggling to provide enough food for everyone who needs it.

“The saddest part was on one of the days we still had about 30 people cueing up and we didn’t have enough bags for them,” she said.

With more and more people seeking food relief, the charity has been forced to move to a bigger location, Punyapa Park in West End, as there wasn’t enough space for them to enforce social distancing.

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Foodbank Queensland provides essential food directly to charities, including Community Friends, who support people seeking food relief. We currently work with over 250 charities across the state. If you are a Queensland charity, Foodbank Queensland membership is a great way to support your food relief projects, offering your organisation a reliable source of food and groceries all year round. 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.