A new food charity is providing ‘dignity’ for Ballarat residents, particularly for older women who are scrimping on food in favour of keeping the lights on.
Pay It Forward Ballarat launched on Friday, with residents able to buy a meal for someone else online, or instore at Country Casseroles.
For every nine meals paid forward, the business will donate the tenth meal, while local suppliers Sinclair Meats and Wilsons Fruit and Vegetables also provide the raw materials for even more meals.
The charity has raised $370.65 so far, with a goal before Christmas of more than 1000 meals funded.
Soup Bus food coordinator Lorraine Gittings said demand from older women for the Soup Bus services had increased, with many “paying their bills” but skipping the supermarket.
They’re not homeless, but because they have no partner, no superannuation, they’re just existing on the pension, the thing they will cut out is foodLorraine Gittings, Soup Bus food coordinator
“That’s really sad, because that older generation doesn’t have the safety net.
“There’s also been an increase of families coming out of domestic violence who have been relocated to Ballarat. Agencies will house them, get them furniture, but they don’t have things in pantry.”
Country Casseroles has been providing food for the charity for eight years.
She said that much of their food is handed out on Thursday nights, to try and get those facing food insecurity through the weekend when the bus doesn’t operate.
“That’s the gap we feel that agencies aren’t able to do, because they’re only there throughout the day.
“A Thursday night is when we hand out baked beans, spaghetti, long-life milk. We try to tide it over for those two days we’re not there.”
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The Soup Bus is currently renovating their second bus, with an increasing reach to Sebastopol, Wendouree West and in the CBD.
Pay It Forward has been sponsored by RSM Accounting, Wilsons Fruit and Vegetables, Hocking Stuart, Sinclair Meats, Gasoline Media, 3BA, Channel Nine and The Courier.
Donations can be made at payitforwardballarat.com.au