Food is free

Annie Borat Community Cupboards
Township/suburb:
Brunswick
Notes (in their own words):

The Annie Borat Community Cupboards are a free food pantry, street library and a craft/games cupboard for everyone to use for free and open 24/7. Take what you need. You do not need to make an appointment, you do not need to provide ID or a bank statement and use of the cupboards is completely anonymous. Please ensure when using the cupboards that the doors are closed properly to keep the weather out.

Donations are what keeps the cupboards full and they welcome any unopened non-perishable food, fresh fruit & veggies and toiletries. Please do not donate any food that needs refrigeration or freezing.

The street library accepts any books, magazines or comics but not CDs or DVDs. The craft/games cupboard accepts any craft items and games but not toys.

They are a registered charity.

Diamond Creek Community Pantry
Township/suburb:
Diamond Creek
Diamond Valley FoodShare
Township/suburb:
Greensborough
Notes (in their own words):

Every Monday to Friday between 1pm and 3pm, Diamond Valley FoodShare provides free food to Banyule residents in need of emergency assistance. Around 50,000 meals are given out each year, and around 400 individuals receive meals in any given month.

People are referred to the FoodShare after visiting either Diamond Valley Community Information Centre in Greensborough Plaza or Banyule Support & Information Centre (BANSIC) at The Mall, Heidelberg West. Recipients receive parcels containing enough food for three to four day periods. The food parcels can be accessed twice each month.

Most of the food comes from the two major Melbourne-wide food relief organisations, namely Foodbank and SecondBite. FoodShare’s volunteers visit Foodbank every fortnight and pick up around 200Kg of fruit and veggies plus some pastries and refrigerated goods. They visit SecondBite every week and pick up around 80Kg of fruit and veggies.

They also collect donations from a variety of local sources with the collection points including five local Woolworths supermarkets, Foodworks Ivanhoe and Diamond Village and Diamond Creek IGA supermarkets. Spoilable foods are collected in a refrigerated van which was purchased with the aid of a cash donation from Watsonia RSL.

Read an interview from April 2018.

Eltham Community Pantry
Township/suburb:
Eltham
Food is Free Blackburn
Township/suburb:
Blackburn
Notes (in their own words):

This is a social permaculture initiative to share resources, distribute surplus, create connection, help other people, and strengthen community ties.

Food is Free Hurstbridge
Township/suburb:
Hurstbridge
Notes (in their own words):

This initiative is one of a number of related food-related initiatives at the site (others include a food swap, a community garden and a seed library).

The Food is Free table is situated under the verandah outside the entrance to the Hurstbridge Community Hub.

Anyone in the community can take from table and you don’t need to contribute anything or leave items in its place. Homegrown food and other items that are left over from the twice monthly food swap are placed on the Food is Free table for everyone in the community to access.

Individual donations of food and garden-related items can be left on the table at any time. Don’t throw those extras in the compost, red bin or recycle: share them with the community!

You can join their Facebook group for regular updates on what is happening.

Food is Free Mitcham
Township/suburb:
Mitcham
Notes (in their own words):

Food is Free Mitcham is an outdoor free access pantry for everyone who eats food, where locals can either donate goods or take things that they need. The main aims are to avoid food and goods going into landfill and to help those in the community who may be struggling. An added bonus is that having the pantry in the community boosts morale and gives everyone a warm fuzzy feeling.

They collect donations from various local businesses to help keep the pantry full and also rely on community donations from neighbours. You can donate anything going unused in your pantry (no open packets), excess produce from your garden, or household items such as toiletries and nappies. If you donate fresh fruit, vegetables or bread, please post on their Facebook group to make sure that people can collect it quickly.

A special thanks to their regular donors: Wendy’s Bakery (Mitcham), Mylk Bar (Mitcham) and Bakers Delight (Forest Hill).

Food is Free Montrose
Township/suburb:
Montrose
Notes (in their own words):

Food is Free Montrose is a community cupboard for everyone to use. Take some if you need, leave some if you can.

If you take any items, enjoy!

You can leave food from your garden or pantry: veggies, fruit, herbs, plants, seeds, seedlings or any non-perishables are welcome. They also have weekly bread deliveries (Thursdays) and cut flowers a few times a week.

There is also a street library and they are building up a seed collection.

Food is Free Nunawading
Township/suburb:
Nunawading
Notes (in their own words):

Food is Free Nunawading aims to give back and build community connections through the sharing of surplus food and produce.

Food is Free Ringwood East
When:
Open 24/7
Township/suburb:
Ringwood East
Notes (in their own words):

People leave surplus from their pantry or garden. It is all about community and contribution. Generosity, in giving and receiving. All are welcome. It is all free. Located on the fence line and open 24/7.

Food is Free Warrandyte
Township/suburb:
Warrandyte
Notes (in their own words):

The food has all been donated— it’s fresh and free to anybody who needs it. There are gold coin donation boxes to help people feel more comfortable taking the food.

Greenhills Neighbourhood House
Township/suburb:
Greensborough
Notes (in their own words):

Greenhills Neighbourhood House has a food relief centre that offers fresh food, pantry items and toiletries on Thursdays and Fridays each week (except between Christmas and New Year). They also serve low-cost barista coffee. More generally, they offer support to everyone and can also give referrals to other connected programs.

In line with their model of ‘donate what you can and take what you need’, they accept donations from the local community.

They often organise swaps (of books, puzzles, plants and clothes) to reduce waste in the community.

They have community composting and recycling programs plus a number of veggies beds.

Greensborough Community Pantry
When:
Open 24/7, with a larger pantry open Monday to Friday, 9am-3pm
Township/suburb:
Greensborough
Notes (in their own words):

Managed by the Neighbourhood House on behalf of The Food Collective.

Grow Free, Lalor
Township/suburb:
Lalor
Notes (in their own words):

‘Grow Free’ is a movement “dedicated to making our food locally grown, organic and free” and they are currently” all about growing and giving away free organic, heirloom veggie/herb/flower seedlings for people to get their garden going“. The movement started out in Adelaide but is now coming to Melbourne.

Hurstbridge Community Pantry
When:
Open 24/7
Township/suburb:
Hurstbridge
Notes (in their own words):

Managed by Vines Baptist Church on behalf of The Food Collective.

JJ’s Community Support
When:
Open 9am-7pm, 7 days a week
Township/suburb:
Reservoir
Notes (in their own words):

JJ’s Community Support is about helping create community spirit, supporting one another and being a central place to come to for support. It includes a ‘community table’, which typically has a variety of food, health and hygiene products which anyone in need is free to take, and which is accessible 7 days a week, 9am-7pm. The food available usually includes fruit, vegetables and pantry products. There is also a fridge and freezer for storing frozen meals.

The community table relies on the donations and support from community members and businesses.

Panton Hill Community Pantry
When:
Open 24/7
Township/suburb:
Panton Hill
Notes (in their own words):

Managed by the Living & Learning Centre on behalf of The Food Collective.

Reservoir Neighbourhood House
Township/suburb:
Reservoir
Notes (in their own words):

Reservoir Neighbourhood House has a ‘community pantry’, which is simply an open cupboard fixed to the outside wall to which people can either donate, or freely take out, any non-perishable food. In practice, most of the food is bought from a local supermarket using a local, grant.

It appears that most of the food is taken within a few hours of being placed there. In response, although the Neighbourhood House staff buy most of the produce on a Monday morning, they spread out the timing of its placement in the pantry. Anyone can take anything that they want whenever they want and they don’t need to interact with the Neighbourhood House staff to do so.

Monday to Thursday, the Neighbourhood House is open for emergency food relief. On Monday nights and Thursday mornings, they give away free bread. Every other Tuesday, they have a delivery of fresh produce. On the 2nd Tuesday of every month, they have a morning tea. And on the 4th Wednesday of every month, they have a free lunch.

Rosanna Community Pantry
When:
Open 24/7
Township/suburb:
Rosanna
Notes (in their own words):

Managed by the Neighbourhood House on behalf of The Food Collective.

SecondBite Diamond Creek
Township/suburb:
Diamond Creek
Notes (in their own words):

SecondBite in Diamond Creek is open every Saturday, 9-10am. It provides, at no cost, a wide variety of fresh produce and other edible goods available to those facing food insecurity or challenges. No referral is required; just drop by and collect fruit and vegetables that would otherwise have gone to waste. Any surplus that is left over is then taken to the Food is Free table in Hurstbridge.

The initiative is operated by The Rotary Club of Diamond Creek in partnership with SecondBite. The aims are to lessen waste and reduce hunger by:

  • Giving food producers and retailers the opportunity to reduce surplus and unsold food.
  • Re-distributing high quality surplus food to the community.
  • Diverting nutritious, edible, quality food from entering landfill, thus promoting environmental well-being.
Strathewen Community Pantry
When:
Open 24/7
Township/suburb:
Strathewen
Notes (in their own words):

Managed by the school on behalf of The Food Collective.

Strathewen
Township/suburb:
Greensborough
Notes (in their own words):

The Food Collective is an initiative of Diamond Valley Community Support which brings together a number of local delivery and donation partners, community organisations and individuals to address food security challenges for vulnerable and disadvantaged community members in the Diamond Valley Region. They do this by sourcing and supplying basic non-perishable food parcels of everyday necessities to those who are experiencing financial crisis and needing emergency relief assistance.

One of its main initiatives to date has been the establishment of community pantries around Banyule and Nillumbik. These pantries contain non-perishable food which is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, require no appointments and are open to whoever needs food.

Their philosophy is give what you can, take what you need, with people able to donate to the pantry as well.

Their pantries are in:

  • Diamond Creek (St Johns Diamond Creek). Open 24/7.
  • Eltham (Eltham Lions Club). Open 24/7.
  • Greensborough (Greenhills Neighbourhood House). Open 24/7 (with a larger pantry open Monday to Friday, 9am-3pm) and managed by the neighbourhood house.
  • Hurstbridge (Hurstbridge Community Hub). Open 24/7 and managed by the Vines Baptist Church.
  • Panton Hill (Panton Hill Living & Learning Centre). Open 24/7 and managed by the living & learning centre.
  • Rosanna (Rosanna Fire Station Community House). Open 24/7 and managed by the community house.
  • Strathewen (Strathewen Primary School). Open 24/7 and managed by the school.
  • Warrandyte (Warrandyte Neighbourhood House). Open Wednesdays, 10am-midday and managed by Carenet.
  • Watsonia (Watsonia Neighbourhood House). Open 24/7 and managed by the neighbourhood house.
Thomastown Neighbourhood House
Township/suburb:
Thomastown
Notes (in their own words):

Thomastown Neighbourhood House has a ‘Free Food Pantry’ which operates Monday-Thursday 9am-8.30pm, Friday, 9am-5pm and Saturday 10am-5pm. It is located in the foyer of the Thomastown Library. Take along a bag and take what you need (pre-packaged grocery items).

They also run ‘Food Relief Fridays’ in front of the Thomastown Library on Fridays, 11am- midday. Go along and pick up a bag of good quality fresh fruit and veggies.

The Thomastown Neighbourhood House food relief efforts are funded by the City of Whittlesea Emergency Relief Fund and supported by IGA Mercato, High Street, Thomastown.

Thornbury Church of Christ
Township/suburb:
Thornbury
Notes (in their own words):

They operate a food relief program, open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 2.30-5pm. The produce available includes sourdough bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, frozen pre-cooked meals and various pantry items. Anyone can come.

They are thankful to their regular suppliers, including Northcote Bakeshop, Bridge Darebin, Brumby’s Bakery Strathmore, SecondBite, Foodbank Victoria, The Billy Cart Bread Co., Kneadful Things – Artisan Bakery, and Kinfolk & Northcote Lions Club.

There is a free community meal on the 4th Sunday of every month, midday-1pm (takeaway only during the pandemic). There are both roast meat and vegetarian options. They ask people to pre-order as it helps with numbers.

There is a pantry (Smith St Community Pantry), which is open 24/7 and is accessible from the footpath on the Smith Street side of the church property. Give what you can and take only what you need. As well as unopened non-perishable food, it often contains bread and garden produce plus toiletries and cleaning products. It is open for donations. Although it is located on the church premises, it is managed by local neighbours and friends who keep it clean and check it from day to day.

The pantry has its own Facebook page.

Most recently, they opened Think Local Community Cafe, which is a social enterprise business in the form of a mobile coffee cart that is open Monday to Friday, 6.30am-2pm. It will hopefully generate more funds to begin a weekly evening meal in the future.

Warrandyte Community Pantry
When:
Open on Wednesdays only, 10am-midday
Township/suburb:
Warrandyte
Notes (in their own words):

Managed by Carenet on behalf of The Food Collective.

Whittlesea Food Collective
Township/suburb:
Epping
Notes (in their own words):

Whittlesea Food Collective aims to develop an integrated response to people experiencing hardship, where the response includes food production and distribution, plant and food-based enterprises, recycling and waste reduction and learning and employment pathways. It delivers individuals with fresh, nourishing food, free of cost, to eligible residents in the City of Whittlesea.

It also provides opportunities for people to volunteer and participate in community activities (see application form). And it accepts donations (see donations form).

Its resources include a demonstration veggie garden and a commercial kitchen.

Whittlesea Food Collective is a partnership between Whittlesea Community Connections and the Whittlesea Emergency Relief Network. It is part of a broader project, the Whittlesea Community Farm and Food Collective, which is a partnership between Whittlesea Community Connections, Yarra Valley Water, Melbourne Polytechnic and City of Whittlesea.