Christmas can be a tough time of year for a lot of families, with just over 3 million people in Australia living below the poverty line, it takes some special people to help make a difference and drive Christmas cheer.
With the mad rush of buying gifts, making sure Santa has given the kids enough presents or ensuring the pavlova looks great, we can forget about those who are most in need.
Foodbasket is a low-cost food club that has been operating out of Maryborough for the last 10 years. They help pensioners, needy individuals with a government concession card and also veterans who have served their country.
The team at Foodbasket recently took hold of an all-new Hino 500 Series Standard Cab FE 1426 and are now putting it to work in order to get ready for the festive season.
At this time of year, Foodbasket is extremely busy, opening every day (except public holidays) to ensure those most in need can get help and especially great food for them and their families. We recently sat down with Mick Wait, Manager of Foodbasket and talked to him as he was gearing up for the Christmas rush.
It’s a busy time of year, how does Foodbasket help those in need at Christmas?
Our goal is to provide the communities that are most in need with affordable, quality food. We aim to affirm people’s dignity – especially when they’re doing it tough – by allowing our customers to choose the foods that they want to purchase, rather than selling them a hamper of items that they may, or may not, want. Our goal is to price the majority of our stock at about half of standard retail price.
How else do you serve the local community?
Besides our shop front, we serve the community in a few other ways. We facilitate the donations and deliver food for 12 schools’ breakfast clubs and a few soup kitchens in town. We also have several volunteers who are in the ‘Work for the Dole’ programme. This gives people the opportunity to work and get a good reference from us, which has led to a few people obtaining employment after serving with us.
For those people who suddenly find themselves in a tough spot, we provide emergency vouchers for people to shop with us and afford food for them and their family.
In all of these initiatives we aim to give people a hand up, so they can better thrive in their life and circumstances.
How has your new Hino helped, especially this time of year?
We have a new 500 Series Standard Cab FE 1426, 10 pallet refrigerated body truck with mats that allow refrigeration. Our Hino is a great improvement from our previous 6 pallet truck, as we’re able to bring nearly double the amount of stock for approximately the same operating costs. The new truck uses seven litres more diesel than the old one, but the benefit for us as a business is that it brings home nearly twice as much freight, providing much better overall value for us. This means we can pass on more savings to our customers.
For example, with our former truck we used to ask for a small donation for produce that was given to us. We can now pass along healthy fruit and veg for free! This is such a benefit for the community.
We use our Hino to deliver just about anything that you’d find in a grocery store, from apples to zucchinis. We previously could only carry a 3.9 tonne payload, but now have over 7 tonnes with our new Hino.
We transport tons of frozen goods, like frozen fruits, veggies, meals, and special treats like ice-cream and other desserts. We’ve also carried plenty of dry stock, from cleaning to personal to tinned goods and soft drinks, we’ve safely carried everything we need in our Hino.
But, one of the best things about the new Hino is the comfort as a driver. We put the adaptive cruise control to great use on the Bruce Highway, the cab and seats are really comfortable, and luckily we haven’t needed to use the great safety features, but feel confident that they are included.
How busy is Christmas for Foodbasket?
Christmas is a busy time of year for us and we’re hoping for an even busier time this season! We hope to be able to provide lots of good food on the lead up to Christmas, mainly so people can afford to have fun with the money they save by shopping with us.
We have well over 2,000 people who have a membership to shop with us. On average, we see at least 250-300 people shopping with us every day and anticipate these numbers will increase through December, so we are planning on being busy!
What does the future hold for Foodbasket?
We’d love to be able to expand our services to the community. We’ve well and truly outgrown our current facility and would love to move into a larger facility. If and when we are able to do so, we’ll be able to increase the volume of stock we can sell, offer more services and classes and welcome more people into the Foodbasket family. We hope to see plenty of Foodbasket Hino trucks on the road in the future!
Thanks for your time, we hope you have a great Christmas.
Follow Foodbasket on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefoodbasketmaryborough