Urban Food Care gets a helping hand from Menai Salvation Army

Uniting in need: Urban Food Care's Gail Popplewell and Sue Takarangi hope to reach more more struggling families in Sutherland Shire. Picture: Chris Lane
Uniting in need: Urban Food Care's Gail Popplewell and Sue Takarangi hope to reach more more struggling families in Sutherland Shire. Picture: Chris Lane

A small volunteer-run food service is partnering with a large charity in the aim of expanding support to people in need.

Urban Food Care, a low cost grocery and fresh food shop at Menai, is merging resources with Menai Salvation Army. 

The community organisation of about 20 volunteers has been operating for six years.

It helps individuals and families who may need a hand in accessing basic food items and other necessities due to long or short term financial difficulty. 

Each week on Fridays the shop on Old Illawarra Road opens from 9.30am-11.30am.

Gail Popplewell runs the service, and says it is an important one for people who may be temporarily struggling.

“Most of our customers come to us for a while, then their circumstances change for the better, and they move on,” she said.

“We try to support people through that transition.

“Older people who aren’t working are still with us, but we find that the people who need help are ones who are in between jobs, single mums who have little kids, and we also support new immigrants.”

She says the partnership with Menai Salvation Army is a positive move.

“The Salvo’s get lots of referrals because they are a large organisation, and we are a stone’s throw away from each other, so it was realised that rather than duplicating what we do, they would support us with expanding resources and having their volunteers help us,” she said.

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