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 for up to 600 asylum seekers per week, half of whom live without any income, work rights or access to income support (i.e. Centrelink). Without the ASRC Foodbank, these people would go hungry.

Watch this video to learn more about the ASRC’s Foodbank.

The LUCRF Super Community Program gives support to the ASRC Foodbank to help keep 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). Members then ‘shop’ with their points as they see fit, volunteers can assist them upon request. This system ensures that rather than handing out food parcels, the ASRC respects the dignity of members to make their own decisions. Healthier options can be ‘bought’ with fewer points to encourage good nutrition.

The foodbank is run by over 125 passionate volunteers and just two part-time staff members. Eighty-five per cent of the food and groceries are sourced via donations from the community: individuals, schools, community groups, food rescue organisations and corporations. The other 15% is purchased by the ASRC, much of it consisting of groceries that are traditionally difficult to obtain when needed. The foodbank has also increased the volume of fresh vegetables available through their Harvest of Hope urban farm.

“All of our work is possible only through the support of partners like the LUCRF Super Community Program, assisting with the unavoidable financial costs of the program. As we try to support an increasing number of people facing hunger and homelessness as a result of the way Australia treats people seeking protection, your support is part of a different story about AustralFoodbank ASRCia and Australians and communicates welcome, kindness and care.” ASRC Interim Update Report, Feb 2018.

Harvest of Hope

From an incredibly generous donation of land and seedlings, ASRC volunteers are tending and delivering loads of fresh vegetable goodness, straight out of the soil and onto foodbank shelves.

In early 2018, volunteers were harvesting around 40 crates of fresh veggies each week, from a garden planted only a few months before. Each week, 7 to 10 volunteers take the ASRC minibus to Clayton to plant, maintain and harvest.

Anya’s story

Originally from India, Anya began using the foodbank in 2017.

"Now I've also become a volunteer in Foodbank to help people, to learn more English and gain new skills”. By being a member volunteer, Anya is able to gain skills and experience, widen her social circle and build her confidence which will help her once her visa conditions give her the right to work.

Shah's storyShah'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.”

Other ASRC programs supported by our Community Program are the Member Volunteer program and the Mentoring program.

Get involved | About our Community Program | Project list