Mobile shop taking food to South Australians in need

Foodbank SA, in partnership with ElectraNet, is taking food to where it is needed the most.

Fighting hunger

A food relief charity is taking its fight against hunger on the road to deliver groceries to thousands of South Australians doing it tough.#9News |

Posted by 9 News Adelaide on Tuesday, 19 March 2019


In a step away from the traditional model, Foodbank SA has launched its first Mobile Food Hub – designed to get food to families living in the regional areas of highest demand.

Foodbank SA Chief Executive Greg Pattinson said the Mobile Food Hub was the next stage in ending hunger in South Australia by delivering food to thousands of people who are in need.

“There are more than 117,260 South Australians who struggle to put food on the table each month. This method enables us to reach the ‘harder to access’ areas, where perhaps there aren’t as many services particularly where agencies are struggling to fund food relief services or where transport is limited making services harder to access,” he said.

“It is going to make a big difference for our Foodbank clients who don’t live in metropolitan areas or large regional towns, where the high need for food relief is great but where a permanent solution either isn’t viable or just doesn’t exist.”

The Mobile Food Hub has also been designed to assist families during natural disasters and support drought effected regions in the future. Foodbank SA announced today that ElectraNet was partnering with the organisation to ‘power’ the Mobile food hub and keep it on the road for the next four years, after the State Government provided the initial start-up grant.

The Mobile Food Hub is expected to travel to the Gawler, Barossa Region, Murray Bridge, Victor Harbour and Port Adelaide areas in the next few months. Murray Bridge, Gawler, Victor Harbour, Barossa area and Port Adelaide/Enfield have been particularly identified as being areas of great need with limited service or access to food relief.

Latest statistics show that key areas in need include Murray Bridge, Port Adelaide, Gawler, Victor Harbour and towns within the Barossa Valley, requiring an additional 68,000 meals per month just to keep up with current levels of demand.

“We know that in certain areas such as Murray Bridge the current levels of demand far exceed the food relief currently being supplied. At this point, only 1.65% of the demand for food relief is being met for those living in Murray Bridge,” Mr Pattinson said.

“In Murray Bridge we are currently providing around 158 meals per month but we know 9,583 meals are needed per month just to meet current levels of demand, so this is just an example of why we need to get to these areas, and how much value this Mobile Food Hub will be.”

Foodbank is Australia’s largest food relief and food rescue organisation. It already has Food Hubs in Christies Beach, Edwardstown, Bowden, Elizabeth and Mt Gambier, with community and Foodbank supported hubs located in Adelaide and Port Pirie. Foodbank also has warehouses in Edwardstown, Whyalla, Berri and Mt Gambier.

“We will work with agencies, communities, councils or government departments that have identified food insecurity and the requirement for food relief service in a particular location or region,” Mr Pattinson said.

“The Mobile Food Hub will work on a referral system to ensure those accessing the service are in genuine need of food relief and the food relief efforts are going to where it is needed the most in South Australia.”

Foodbank Agency and Food Hub Manager, Leanne Malek, has seen the need first-hand, and believes the mobile facility will make a substantial difference.

“We receive hundreds of calls each week with the request from individuals and the agencies we work with who either are unable to access enough food relief or due to proximity are unable to reach the services provided,” she said.

“This Mobile Food Hub will ensure we have the capacity to be more responsive to areas of need. This will be particularly important with areas of natural disaster or drought, unforeseen circumstances or where identified as high instances of food insecurity within a community.”

Food to be available from the Mobile Food Hub include pantry staples, healthy food options with free fruit and vegetables and meal packs.

ElectraNet Chief Executive, Steve Masters said ElectraNet was proud to be partnering with Foodbank to deliver the Mobile Food Hub.

“We’re pleased to be able to help power the state’s first mobile food pantry and provide assistance to delivering such an important service to our community,” Mr Masters said.

“The Foodbank Mobile Food Hub supported by ElectraNet will be able to operate as a stand-alone distribution centre in areas where Foodbank SA currently does not have a permanent presence.”

“It’s especially close to us because many of the individuals and families who will be able to access this service are in the regional areas, where much of our electricity transmission line network is located.”

The new Mobile Food Hub will be on display at Victoria Square at Tasting Australia during April. Anyone attending the event is invited to donate cans (or virtual cans) to help fill the shelves. Following the event, the Mobile Food Hub will be on the road to the first destination.

“We hope that all South Australians will get behind us for this service. When it is in your area we hope you can help us fill the shelves whether by donating cans or coins,” Mr Pattinson said.