HOME COOK­ING

Food­share finds a base, with coun­cil to pay rent for High St shop

McIvor Times - - FRONT PAGE - By LACH­LAN DURLING

THEY’RE the group that keeps on giv­ing, and now they’ve re­ceived a bit in re­turn.

Food­share fi­nally has a home — or a shop — at 76 High St and they’ve got big plans to go with it.

Thanks to the City of Greater Bendigo, the vol­un­teers will be serv­ing up soups and veg­eta­bles for at least the next year as coun­cil has stepped in to cover the cost of rent.

“They’ve been so help­ful, it’s taken a lot of hard work but we’re in,” Food­share’s Rob Peachey said.

“We’re go­ing to be get­ting an op shop up and run­ning in here and call it the Sec­ond Chance Store — we’re get­ting bags and bags of do­na­tions.”

How­ever they haven’t for­got­ten their roots — or their leafy greens.

Rob said they plan to house the food out­side to keep it crisper.

“It’ll be a Hope Lane setup again, Food­share will work along the side un­der­cover and we’ll have heaters set up out there so we can have the shop in­side,” he said.

“The food stays fresher and looks bet­ter out­side so we’re go­ing to go back to that.

“We also have the food van out there so we’re go­ing to set up a mar­quee and have our cafe´ out­side.

“For the Sec­ond Chance Shop we al­ready have change rooms and a lit­tle of­fice set up too.”

Things are mov­ing rapidly: Rob plans to have the shop up and run­ning this week and then con­tinue ex­pand­ing what could be de­scribed as a miniem­pire. But he wouldn’t call it that. “I’d call it jug­gling,” he laughed. A load of food comes in and Rob laughed, say­ing “this is my life, it comes down to boxes of yo­ghurt”, as he works out what to store, what to de­liver and what to dis­play.

But he wouldn’t change a thing. Week in, week out, he and the vol­un­teers are there serv­ing up cup­pas and hav­ing a chat with the steady stream of lo­cals who come in through­out the day.

They’ve ex­panded to Axedale, and Rob hopes the group can help out more peo­ple in the dis­trict.

The Axedale Food­share came about be­cause a cou­ple of vol­un­teers de­cided to add veg­eta­bles to their mini li­brary in the hall.

“It’s been go­ing for just more than a month now and it’s been re­ally well re­ceived — they de­cided to set one up and it’s been a great ef­fort on their be­half,” Rob said.

“We’re look­ing at set­ting up in other ar­eas — even just a day a week — for peo­ple who can’t make it into Heath­cote.”

Add to this the five mo­bil­ity scoot­ers — which are be­ing re­paired and read­ied for any­one who needs to bor­row one — and they’re a busy bunch.

“It’s about help­ing peo­ple out when they’re in a tight spot; we’ll loan them out for a while be­cause they aren’t cheap for peo­ple to buy,” he said.

“And it wouldn’t make sense buy­ing one if you don’t al­ways need it.”

The vol­un­teers def­i­nitely are busy, and Rob said they could al­ways use more help com­ing into win­ter.

“We’re go­ing to need more peo­ple to run the shop through the week and we’re also plan­ning home visits for peo­ple who may not be able to make it down to us,” he said.

“We’re see­ing about 300 peo­ple a week through but we’re ex­pect­ing that to in­crease com­ing into win­ter.

“We need more su­per­mar­kets to come on board. The United ser­vice sta­tion and Si­gafredo’s Bak­ery have been an amaz­ing sup­port, giv­ing us the day’s pies, sand­wiches and bread — it’s been ter­rific.”

The prof­its from the shop will stay in the dis­trict, and Rob said the group is all about peo­ple.

“Peo­ple just want an out­ing so they can speak to some­one — the brick wall at home isn’t the best com­pany.

“It was about food but now it’s about peo­ple, they can come down here, have a chat, grab some food and a cuppa and sit by the heaters.”

The big­gest change since Food­share moved has been the de­ci­sion to stop a ‘main’ food de­liv­ery day and just of­fer up what­ever they have.

The group also de­cided to open six days a week from Mon­day-Satur­day, some­thing which Rob said has proved fruit­ful.

“Satur­day re­ally has been a game changer for us, we had about 70 peo­ple come through — most of them work­ing fam­i­lies who can’t come see us through the week,” he said.

“There were a lot of faces we hadn’t seen be­fore.”

‘ It’s about help­ing peo­ple out when they’re in a tight spot'

— Rob peachey

Robert Peachey out the front of the new Food­share shop on High St, which will be the ser­vice’s home for at least a year.

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