Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

Foodbank

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is Australia’s largest community-led, not-for-profit organisation providing advocacy, aid, and health services for all people seeking asylum. 

The foodbank is the inaugural program of the ASRC. It began in 2001 and is a vital community service providing food to 630 asylum seekers per week, half of whom live without work rights or access to income support (i.e. Centrelink). They have no income whatsoever. Without the ASRC Foodbank, these people would go hungry. 

 The LUCRF Community Partnership Trust (CPT) provides support to the ASRC Foodbank to assist in keeping this valuable service operating. Weekly groceries are provided to members using a points system, whereby points are allocated according to family size and access to income/assistance (if any). Healthier options are also allocated lower points to encourage good nutrition. Members then ‘shop’ with their points as they see fit, with volunteers there to assist them only upon request. This system ensures that rather than handing out food parcels, the ASRC respects the dignity of members to make their own decisions. 

Eighty-five per cent of the food and groceries are sourced via donations from the community: individuals, schools, community groups, food rescue organisations and corporate support. The other 15% is purchased by the ASRC, much of it being groceries which are traditionally difficult to obtain when needed. The foodbank is run by over 100 passionate volunteers and just two part-time staff members.

Shah's Story

“When I arrived from Afghanistan, it was the worst time of my life. I had lost everything. I even lost my memory. It was so stressful. 

“When I didn’t have a job I used to come here to collect food from the foodbank. It was really, really good to have something, rather than having nothing. 

“Now, even when I am working full time I will make sure I don’t have to work on a Tuesday because Tuesday is the day I volunteer in the foodbank. 

“I remember being in the same position as the people I see in here now.  I didn’t have any income. I didn’t have any way of getting food. So when we give them the food, I understand how happy they are.” 

Shah is 24 years old.

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