Basic needs


Foodbank is the inaugural program of the ASRC. It began in 2001 and is a vital community service providing food for over 700 asylum seekers per week, half of whom live without any income, work rights or access to income support (i.e. Centrelink).

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
August 2016 - July 2018

Partner profile

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

Our Community Program supported the ASRC Foodbank to help keep this valuable service operating. Without the ASRC Foodbank, many people would go hungry.

Foodbank is, in effect, a free supermarket, providing weekly groceries for asylum seekers. A points system is used, 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 and 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 Australia and Australians and communicates welcome, kindness and care.” ASRC Interim Update Report, Feb 2018.

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 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.”

We have also supported the following ASRC projects:

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