June 9, 2020
Before COVID-19 struck, the Wesleyan Grace Community Food Hamper shop in Fitzroy Street, Nanango, was serving between 80 and 100 customers every week.
The pandemic forced the store to close briefly but after three weeks, demand was so strong that Pastor Kelepi Nuku Piukala decided to reopen the shop with social distancing precautions in place.
Now customers are given a number and asked to wait in their cars or outside until their number is called.
Once inside the shop, they have a choice of a trolley-full of grocery items, fruit and vegetables, meat and dairy products for $40 (or $30 without meat).
Pastor Nuku said at the moment there was an average of 60 people turning up every Thursday morning, enough for store volunteers to make two trips a week to Brisbane to keep the shelves stocked from Foodbank.
But where to keep this food was starting to become a problem for the community volunteers.
Heritage Nanango Community Funding (HNCF) had previously supplied the Nanango charity – which has been operating since 2015 – with a secondhand refrigerator and a small freezer but Pastor Nuku needed more as the demand grew.
So he turned to HNCF again for help.
He took delivery on Monday of a new three-door refrigerator and a large chest freezer, thanks to a $7700 grant from HNCF.
“They will really help because the demand is getting so big,” Pastor Nuku said.
He said the store was “all about helping our community”.
Families, individuals, the old and the young are among its customers.
“People come from Moore, Chinchilla – all over the place – Murgon, Goomeri and Kingaroy as well as Nanango,” Pastor Nuku said.
Volunteers man the shop and also help with the regular trips to Brisbane while the congregation from the local Wesleyan Methodist Church raises the funds necessary to cover handling fees and transport costs.
The Wesleyan Grace Community Food Hamper shop is open from 8:00am to noon every Thursday.
Customers are asked to bring their own boxes and bags.