Saving Place Plaza Food Hub is now open to members in Kempsey.
No Kid Hungry AU chief executive Dave Davis has been busy with renovations and setting up the new family food hub in the old Kempsey Hotel, and now locals are able to come in and pick up the donated food from supermarkets.
Although there is more work to be done, Dave Davis said he is glad to be open and helping the community once again.
“For the last four years I’ve been in talks with Woolworths and Aldi to organise the food pick-ups and how it’s all going to run,” Mr Davis said.
“This doesn’t happen overnight and the volunteers who have helped out are the real heroes here.”
No Kid Hungry AU feeds around 19,000 people and operates from Forster up to Woolgoolga.
As well as a food hub for members, there will also be a shopping plaza open to the general public.
“We’re aiming to open the plaza in the next 2-3 weeks. We also want to have retail traineeships in the plaza section for local teenagers, where they can get experience and then find work. All the money made in the shopping plaza will go straight back into the food hub section,” Mr Davis said.
The shopping plaza will have local arts and crafts for sale, clothes and furniture.
Across the Mid North Coast, No Kid Hungry AU is picking up around eight tonne of food from supermarkets every day which then goes to those in need.
“We have an abundance of food here, and it’s all perfectly good food, the quality is amazing,” Mr Davis said.
The Saving Place will also partner with the local Neighbourhood Centre where they will utilise the kitchen section of the Kempsey Hotel to train local kids to cook healthy meals.
“They’re going to use the kitchen and food supplied by us to teach kids how to cook, it’s a great opportunity for the local youth,” Mr Davis said.
The kids who will be learning how to cook meals will then take home enough food for their family and any leftovers will be given back to The Saving Place to then distribute to local members in need.
The Saving Place Food Hub is able to accept 300 memberships at this stage.
Memberships are available for people who hold a pensioners card who will pay $30 a year for the boxes of food, as well as anyone who is on government payments including the New Start Allowance, who will pay $100 a year.
Memberships are also available to people who need to use the food service for a short amount of time.
“People can use this as a way to get over a hump, if they find themselves unable to purchase food for a short period of time,” Mr Davis said.
With the hope to expand the service to Tasmania, South Australia and Northern Queensland, Dave Davis’ nation-wide plan is on the horizon.