Food van launches

By Ashleigh Fielding | posted on January 31, 2020

IN AN attempt to rectify issues of access to food for people in need, a handful of Albany organisations have funded a portable barbecue trailer to provide breakfast twice a week.

Tracy Sleeman from Albany Regional and Volunteer Service explained that the project had been on the boil for nearly 18 months, while waiting for and seeking funding and resources to be able to offer the service.

Together with Fran Seymour from Albany Red Cross, they visited Bunbury to learn more about how the township operated two food vans, three times per week.

They then received a trailer from the Albany Men’s Resource Centre and Ventroair’s Jason Lockhart refurbished it, with the help of some Albany Community Foundation funding.

“The Homeless Forum group of support services that we met with several times to talk about the food van supported the concept of what we were doing,” Ms Sleeman said.

“We talked to existing services of food relief including Foodbank and their school breakfast program and St Johns and Scots Church about their food kitchens.

“These, and reports on food insecurity from Foodbank, Addressing Homelessness in the Great Southern, and the WA Food Relief Frame- work 2019, told us we were heading in the right direction.”

Pivot Support Services, Barbeques Galore, Albany Signs and Pearson Spraypainters also got on board to get the trailer operational.

Ms Sleeman said the community support she’s received has been overwhelming and highly appreciated, as food insecurity is a hidden problem in Albany she says needs to be addressed.

“We tend to not see issues that don’t affect us directly,” she said.

“It’s not always about not having enough food; sometimes it’s about not having the transport, not knowing how to cook wholesome meals, having family issues where there may be drug abuse or domestic violence which leads to children missing meals because of instability at home … you only have to see that Foodbank Albany is supplying the equivalent of 30,000 meals per month to Albany people to see we have a need for food support.”

The barbecue trailer and Breakfast in the Park program officially launched at Foodbank Albany at 9am today.

To start with, the trailer will offer a bacon and egg burger to people in need on Tuesday mornings from 7-8am on Mokare Road, Spencer Park and on Wednesday mornings from 7-8am at the Old Gaol in town.

People interested in volunteering, hiring the trailer or wanting more information can email volinfo@arvs.org.au or call 9841 3588.