UnitingCare Taperoo is a partnership between the Lefevre Uniting Church and UnitingCare SA that established an Emergency Relief Centre where people can go for nutritious frozen meals.

The community was an important part of helping UnitingCare Taperoo to get going. Adelaide-Brighton Cement Ltd jumped in early with a generous grant. Since then, further support has been provided by the Port Adelaide Enfield Council, OzHarvest and community donations.

In the first 15 weeks in which it was operating UnitingCare Taperoo distributed 1,542 meals to 145 local residents.

Every person collecting a meal has a story to share. Many have spoken of the way in which the care provided through the initiative has helped them in their time of need.

Jane* should be enjoying her retirement. Instead, she is battling cancer and her daughter’s family has moved in after losing their jobs. A few frozen meals and a good chat with the volunteers has helped her to go away with a little more cheer in her heart.

Sophie* rings every week and talks to the volunteers for 20 minutes when ordering her preferred meals. Being unable to get food from the local supermarket or catch up with friends and relatives has really taken a toll on Sophie. For her and others, having someone to talk to over the phone when ordering their meals is as important as the food itself

Pete* came in to see “what all the fuss was about.” After talking for a bit, it turns out his family is experiencing financial stress as a result of being stood down by his employer. He’s the only breadwinner in the family and it’s hard to ask for help. But when several meals were offered, he was thrilled to take them home.

There have also been families like Steve’s*: when they came in, they didn’t even have any winter clothes for their kids. This is when it is great to have an Op Shop onsite. They got to pick out some warm things for the whole family.

*not their real names

As the economic impact of COVID-19 deepens, the demand for meals continues to increase. During the last week, 182 meals were distributed.

To help meet this demand, we need your help. You can help by:

• making a tax-deductible donation to the UnitingCare Emergency Relief Centre Appeal;

• donating food items that can be used in the meals or distributed as part of a food hamper; or

• volunteering in the kitchen or to help distribute the meals.