Free Food

Reporter: Rebecca Berg

It's suburban Brisbane, and at 3 in the morning, hundreds of people started queuing to get free food.

Pastor Terry Walker knows how desperate the need is among Australia's working poor. His Tribe of Judah Motorcycle Ministry sees the human face of hard times. "Even 6 months I've seen it grow because we do this every couple of months, but we also do it every day, six days a week on a smaller basis of around 20 pallets of food every day, apart from Sunday", Pastor Walker said.

And people are grateful for their share of the 80 tonnes of food being handed out. And it's not just the homeless and unemployed -- more and more Australians from all walks of life, are swallowing their pride and turning to charity for help. "We see some who were wealthy people come in here and I promise you I've seen brand new BMW's brand new Mercedes Benz but they're all about to lose their car, about to lose their house", Pastor Walker said.

Each day in Australia 48,000 people are fed by volunteer organizations. In a year, 16 million kilograms of food is distributed across the country with Queensland receiving the lions share -- 6.84 million kilos. 3.76 million kilos gets handed out in New South Wales; and needy Victorians receive 2.82 million kilograms of food.

On Brisbane's north side another, smaller charity -- The Lighthouse Church, helps 180 families a week. "Either through food parcels, a free meal or through the food co-op", said Pastor David.

The food co-op is run from the Church grounds and is staffed entirely by volunteers. It sole aim is to access food and pass it on as cheaply as possible. "They can be people struggling paying their rent, they may not have a health care card, they're just in that over that limit and they're struggling", Pastor David added.

In Adelaide a group has come up with its own solution to help people living from paycheck to paycheck. They've set up a not for profit food barn that stocks regular grocery items, but also re-packages food into smaller and therefore cheaper quantities.

At Whalers Food Barn a 250 gram packet of pasta costs 50 cents, 200 grams of table salt sells for just 25 cents, half a kilo of sugar is also 50 cents. So while the cost of living is spiraling out of control for some, there are people trying to help with cheap food, free food or even a free feed.

And knowing it's appreciated, is reward enough.