IGA is sponsoring one of St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria’s soup van services with non-perishable groceries in a pilot scheme to help increasing food poverty that Victorians in inner-city Melbourne are facing.

IGA will provide Vinnies Victoria’s Fitzroy-Collingwood Soup Van Hub – a Covid-19-safe service delivering vital contactless food hampers and parcels – with the groceries every week until the end of the year in a scheme that the organisations hope to develop into a longer-term partnership.

More than 130 Vinnies Victoria’s volunteers will deliver the hampers to people in need ­and will be assisted in packing the hampers by IGA volunteers when Covid-19 restrictions safely allow.

Vinnies Victoria Soup Van Manager Sarah Cromie said, “We are proud to partner with IGA whose stores are in most of the communities we support. Many families and individuals in Melbourne are under intense financial hardship and uncertain job prospects due to the devastating impact of Covid-19 and we have seen a doubling of demand on some of our services recently.

“For thousands of Australians, the coronavirus crisis means that, for the first time, they’re struggling to get food on the table and thanks to our friends at IGA, we are able to continue to support people and communities in need.”

IGA has had a national partnership with Vinnies for 10 years during their annual Christmas Appeal, which raises funds to support people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage during the festive season.

Victorian IGA retailer Joseph Piedimonte, owner of Piedemonte’s Supa IGA North Fitzroy added: “At IGA, giving back and looking after the locals wherever possible sits at the heart of everything we do. We knew we had to do more given the current situation for many Victorians and are thrilled to extend our relationship with Vinnies and further support people in our local communities who are doing it really tough.”

The Victorian-based sponsorship will see IGA provide non-perishable items including baked beans, pasta, instant noodles, tinned vegetables, tuna, soup and water to be included in hampers packed at Vinnies’ Fitzroy-Collingwood Food Hub. Vinnies Victoria volunteers – or ‘Vannies’ – will deliver the hampers to families and individuals in temporary accommodation and local rough sleepers after people request assistance through the charity’s Assistance Call Centre.

People in need can contact Vinnies Victoria for assistance with food on 1800 305 330 (Monday – Friday 10am to 3pm).

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