Romsey Neighbourhood House’s Community Foodshare program is in full swing, allowing people to access food support in their own community.

Located next to Romsey Laundromat at St Mary’s Kiosk, the service is open to everyone from 9.30am to 2.30pm every Tuesday and Thursday and is designed to operate in line with the house’s motto of ‘be a part of it’.

Romsey Neighbourhood House manager Michelle Balthazar said the program was designed to fill a gap in food support services.

“It’s a service that’s open to everyone, it’s not just a food bank program as such,” she said.

“We saw through COVID a lot of people have been doing it tough, so we wanted to create a service for everyone to remove the stigma around needing food support.

“We also realised that if people are needing food support they’d have to travel 20 or 30 kilometres to the nearest food bank, which isn’t great for fuel costs, so it’s good to be able to have a dedicated service close to home.”

The foodshare operates with five options available for the community – buy, swap, sell, donate, or take. A credit points system is in place to manage the transfer of products.

The concept includes:

  • Buy – Discounted items and community cooked frozen meals can be bought from $5.
  • Swap – People can swap their produce for other donated items in the house’s collection or for non-perishable supplies.
  • Sell – Quality home-grown goods can be sold to the house to support the foodshare.
  • Take – People who are struggling can register with the house to receive support and take items as needed using the credit points system.
  • Donate – Any excess produce or goods, as well as money, can be donated to the house in support of the program. Extra credit points will also be available for those who donate.

“We hope to highlight the importance of food sustainability in the community and encourage people to share food instead of letting it go to waste,” Ms Balthazar said.

“It just goes to show that we can achieve anything as a community, the program is by the community for the community.”

Ms Balthazar extended thanks to St Mary’s Catholic Church for allowing the house to use the kiosk, and to Foodbank Victoria for their support.

For any enquiries about the program or anything else happening at Romsey Neighbourhood House, and to contribute to the program, people can call 5429 6724.

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