Feeding a community with small change – Woodstock shows the way

May 22nd, 2015  |  Published in Economic (in)justice


By adding $0.25 to their supermarket bill, the people of Woodstock (Ontario, Canada) raise $75,000 to $90,000 per year, which is then transferred to cards that are distributed to local folk in need. The cards can be used to buy food and other supermarket supplies. There are no administrative costs, no transport or storage arrangements, and the process is relatively discreet compared with a formal charity (click here).


I posted about this scheme on social media, and it proved a popular idea. I’m writing about it again here, for the record, and also because I’m wondering about possibilities in my local area in Melbourne (Victoria, Australia).

So far there are more questions than answers, and here are some of them:

  1. Can I get in touch with the people in Woodstock to get help with developing the idea?
  2. Would IGA (Independent Grocers of Australia) be interested? There are a couple of these stores in my local area and I like this idea, suggested by a Facebook comment, better than being involved with the big two (Coles or Woolworths).
  3. What would be the process at the check-out? How would staff promote the idea and customers know about it?
  4. How would the referral process work? Do I need to look for a community partner? Who could this be? Church group? Council? More than one?
  5. Who would be eligible? Anyone with a Low Income Health Care Card? Priority for those who are homeless, single parents, students in poverty? What about asylum seekers and others who may be living in poverty but do not have healthcare cards?


Comments and suggestions welcome…Joan Beckwith

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