I don’t pretend to know nearly enough about the plight of refugees and asylum seekers across the world, but like many people I know, I want to help. I posted on Facebook a few days ago a great list of ways you can assist, from The Age: “Refugee crisis: how you can help refugees trying to reach safety in Europe and here in Australia“, and if you’re in Melbourne there’s plenty you can do, particularly since Victoria is home to the largest community of asylum seekers in Australia, most of whom live below the poverty line.
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is tireless in its effort to provide practical assistance to those seeking refuge, and their newest venture is one close to my heart – providing healthy food, heavily discounted, to asylum seekers in the local area, 90% of whom experience food insecurity, run out of food, and cannot afford to buy more. The Food Justice Truck stops at various points around the city each week, providing fresh produce at a discount of 75% for those seeking asylum, and competitive prices for those who are not.
The locally-sourced produce includes fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, legumes, Storm in a Teacup tea leaves, and fresh bread from Dench Bakers in Fitzroy. It is the world’s first retail model that enables the general public to invest in quality fresh food (with low carbon miles) for their family, while re-investing profits into affordable nutritious food for asylum seekers.
The truck is a petrol-electric hybrid and run by volunteers, effectively keeping overhead costs down. The unique social enterprise model also, improves the healthy eating habits of the community, promotes advocacy for asylum seekers and supports the environment – a really thoughtful way of meeting the needs of those in our society who are disadvantaged.
The truck can be found at the following locations every week:
- Every Tuesday, 3–6pm at Thomastown Primary School, Spring St, Thomastown. Enter via High Street or Stewart Street
- Every Wednesday from early September, 11:30am-2pm in front of Wesley Church Melbourne, 148 Lonsdale St
- Every Friday, 3–6pm at Footscray Primary School, cnr Geelong Rd and Barkly St.
The ASRC are also hoping to foster a neighbourhood feel around the Food Justice Truck, and in fact “encourage everyone to get to know each other, meet our volunteers and be part of the community”. You can also volunteer yourself by calling them on ASRC on (03) 9326 6066 or via email at email@example.com.
I’m sure they’d be grateful for anything you could do.