'Free' groceries feed flood recovery

Volunteering at the Grantham food distribution centre are (from left) Cody Purton, Debbie Middleton and Casey Van Zelst.
Volunteering at the Grantham food distribution centre are (from left) Cody Purton, Debbie Middleton and Casey Van Zelst. Kevin Farmer

WHEN a couple of women from Grantham opened a “free” supermarket for flood victims little did they realise the effect their venture would have on the community.

The supermarket dubbed the “IGA” — Independent Grantham Association — was formerly the meeting room of the rural fire service.

The space now has been converted to a mini-supermarket with tinned food, fresh produce and household items stacked high on shelves.

Outside, dozens of shipping containers are filled with donated items.

One of the volunteers, Linda Weston, said the supermarket wasn't just a place to pick up some groceries.

“It is a really good meeting point and have a talk,” she said.

“If you haven't noticed someone for a few days, then you make a point of checking in with them and making sure they are alright.”

Ms Weston said the supermarket also meant nervous residents could remain close to home, rather than travel to get supplies.

“Some people still feel uncomfortable going into town (Gatton) and prefer to stay close to home,” she said.

Grantham resident Marieanne “Mar” Purton said the store had received countless donations.

“People can come here do their shopping and it doesn't cost a thing.

“They can collect a few bits and pieces; it makes a really big difference.

“It makes it easier. People have an extra $60 or $70 in their purse.”

Ms Purton also paid tribute to volunteer Linda Van Zelst who had helped set up the supermarket.

“She is enjoying her first holiday since this all happened,” she said.

There is also a free 24-hour laundromat at the venue, where people are invited to do their washing at any time of the day.

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