As COVID-19 spreads to regional South Australia, increasing numbers of residents isolating at home are finding it challenging to put food on the table.
- Some remote South Australians isolating due to COVID are not eligible for grocery delivery services
- Foodbank SA delivers emergency hampers to those without other options
- The Riverland community calls for “mateship” to help source food for isolating residents
While residents in larger metropolitan areas can rely on supermarket delivery services or takeaway orders being brought to their doors, they are not luxuries available to all.
Options in the Riverland and Mallee are limited, with supermarket grocery delivery services limited to larger towns such as Renmark, Loxton, Berri and Waikerie.
Locally owned takeaway restaurants also rarely offer a delivery service.
It means residents of smaller towns who are forced at isolate at home after contracting COVID, or being a close contact of an infected person, do not have direct access to food.
As a result, those living outside the range of food delivery services are already putting plans in place to ensure they do not go hungry during periods of forced isolation.
Facebook user Robin Smith says some people forget “just how big” Australia is, describing how his friend has to drive 12 hours to the nearest town to buy groceries.
Another user, Irayna Lee, said she put groceries aside each week in case her remote location prevented her from sourcing food.
Foodbank steps in
Regional South Australians who are isolated at home and struggling to source food can access an emergency hamper from Foodbank SA by getting a referral through The Salvation Army or The St Vincent de Paul Society.
The service is designed as a last resort for those who have exhausted all of their options and do not have family or friends who can help, or cannot access grocery delivery services.
Foodbank SA chief executive Greg Pattinson said the organisation had been supporting isolated people, in an area stretching from Streaky Bay to Whyalla, for more than 12 months.
“It obviously depends on the area, but we aim to do a delivery within 48 hours of the order. So we will look at each case in turn and try to find the best way of doing it.
“A lot of it is done through either getting volunteers to drive there or some of our corporate partners … who do go to all these sorts of places in the outlying areas of the regions each day.”
Community comes through
As is often the case in rural areas, community spirit is helping to ensure no-one unable to leave their home is going hungry.
Facebook user Sonya Baker said “the best sister-in-law does driveway deliveries”, while Kerry Timmins said now was a time for friends and neighbours to “band together and help each other out”.
Facebook user Debi Robinson said there were no options available to her, explaining that “like many, I’m fairly isolated”.
This was met with a generous offer from Jennie Lory, encouraging Riverland and Mallee residents to reach out for support.