Southlake Marketplace provides affordable food and toiletries for low income earners, pensioners and Centrelink recipients three days a week.
The organisation distributes over 1.6 tonnes of rescued and purchased food weekly, including staples like Weet-Bix, bread, pasta and fruit and vegetables.
It has a primary site in Cooranbong and runs pop-up foodbanks in Lake Munmorah, Gwandalan, Summerland Point, Wangi and home delivery up to a radius of 50km.
In the past year Sanitarium has donated 30 cases of Weet-Bix and 30 cases of So Good to the operation.
These go to the emergency food packs delivered in conjunction with Centrelink, which identifies people in need, usually either homeless people or women from refuges fleeing violent domestic situations. Volunteers can go as far as 80km to deliver these vital packages.
“We’ve been open for six years and I’ve never seen it this bad,” says Founder and Coordinator Christine Mastello. “We’re currently supporting five families sleeping in their cars.”
The organisation also provides free counselling through its partner Here2Help counselling, no-interest loans and has established Southlake Community Drug Action Team. Each year it runs a community Christmas party, giving away 300 food hampers and 400 toys to needy families who would otherwise miss out.
Lake Macquarie City Council recognised Southlake Marketplace as a 2018 Australia Day award winner for its contribution to the community.