Residents and visitors to Lithgow can stock up on pantry basics for free, thanks to Lithgow Information and Neighbourhood Centre’s partnership with Coles to deliver a ‘Second Bite Food Rescue’ program.
The program is currently in place in 1,200 communities throughout Australia.
In Lithgow, LINC volunteers will collect baked goods, canned items, fruit and vegetables from Coles that otherwise would have been binned. The groceries will be available to pick up for free at the LINC foyer.
“They are items that would have been taken off the shelf that day, so they are no longer for sale but still good to eat,” LINC group facilitator Angie Collins said.
Ms Collins looked into the Coles’ ‘Second Bite’ program as a solution to the number of people coming into the centre hungry.
“We get homeless people and people in need asking for food. We have people needing something to eat then and there.
“We thought it would be a good thing to support the community and help people with the social issues they face.”
LINC made its first pick up from the local supermarket on Monday, July 17.
Among the goodies were healthy greens, like leeks and spinach, tasty veggies such as sweet potato and capsicum, more than forty loaves of bread and crusty baguettes.
Coles store manager Todd Pangas said he was “really excited” to begin the program in Lithgow.
“Realistically it’s the community that keeps any shop open. Unless we look after the community I wouldn’t be in a job,” he said.
“Being in such a large scale store means we really have a responsibility to the community to give back.”
Mr Pangas said the Second Bite program has been highly successful at other stores.
“If we can help local people feed their families then that is the hole we are trying to fill.”
LINC has trained up two volunteers, Tarah Atkins and Jane Aziz, to operate the food bank. They will pick up as much food as they can fit in their boot from Coles every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“It’s awesome,” said Ms Atkins at her first pick up.
“There is just so much available that we haven’t tapped into before.”
The groceries can be taken by anyone who walks into LINC, no strings attached.
“You don’t have to prove you are needy, just take it and go,” Ms Collins said.
- Groceries will be available to pick up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday after 12.30pm from the LINC reception at 1 Padley Street.