A photograph of struggling Aussies lining up at a store to get their hands on free food has captured the cost-of-living crisis gripping Australia.
A charity supermarket in Logan’s Tudor Park, Queensland, opened on October 25 and gave away their entire stock in less than one day.
More than 1,400 people have visited The Serving Our People centre in the week that it has been open and long lines are now a staple of the store.
The overwhelming demand has seen the store struggling to keep up with shelves left empty within moments of being restocked by staff.
On their first day of business founder and CEO Yas Daniel Matbouly told Daily Mail Australia that volunteers had to stop people from fighting over stock inside the store.
‘It’s a sense of survival that we have if we cannot support our families and kids, if they can’t afford something they will fight for it,’ he said.
Photographs of the queues are all the more heartbreaking following revelations some Aussie parents are being forced to skip meals to make ends meet.
A single photo of hundreds of Queenslanders waiting to enter a new charity supermarket in Logan shows the clear struggle of many people amidst the cost of living crisis
The Serving Our People centre opened October 25 and despite the fact that it is only open five hours a day for three days a week, CEO Yas Daniel Matbouly said it has serviced 1,400 people
Australian Council of Social Service released a survey in September revealing 73 per cent of respondents are skipping meals or eating less, while 68 per cent have cut back on meat, fruit and vegetables.
Mr Matbouly said he hopes by opening the supermarket his team will help alleviate the cost of living crisis that he accused the government of ignoring.
‘We’ve started seeing a lot of families really struggling with food, some of the parents were skipping meals to keep up with putting food on the table for their kids,’ he said.
‘We do have a massive national crisis, this is really as bad as the flooding where it was a massive national crisis.
‘It is a crisis and I think that it is just being put under the carpet.’
Serving Our People opened the first free supermarket in Queensland in 2022 at Mermaid Beach on the Gold Coast, which now serves roughly 900 customers a week.
Before that it had been operating as a free delivery service throughout the state during the pandemic.
‘We were the FedEx or Uber Eats for everybody – just pick up and deliver,’ Mr Matbouly said.
The second Serving Our People supermarket has been so successful that lines of hundreds have flocked to the store, desperate to get their hands on some food.
This desperation quickly devolved into violence on the first day.
‘On the opening day we had people fighting with each other to get food,’ Mr Matbouly said.
‘And the question always lies with are people really in need or are they taking advantage, but would anybody who is not truly in need be fighting?’
The store is currently stocking grocery items including bread, fruit and vegetables, and up to seven pantry items which include rice, long-life milk and biscuits.
It is only open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 3pm but Mr Matbouly said that he hopes they will soon be open seven days a week.
Mr Matbouly (pictured), who also founded the charity, said that he has met parents who have been skipping meals to make sure their children can eat
The store is currently stocking grocery items including bread, fruit and vegetables, and up to seven pantry items which include rice, long-life milk and biscuits
The CEO said that Serving Our People recruits more than 100 volunteers each month, some of whom rely on the supermarket’s food themselves.
‘Even some of our volunteers can’t even make ends meet every month and they’re benefiting from us,’ he said.
‘The disparity between rich and poor is kind of increasing more and more which is sad to see but it still has to be dealt with as quickly as possible.
‘People are in need and the first thing they need is to put food on the table. If they can’t do that then they feel like they’ve failed their families and themselves and that is when it starts affecting their mental health as well.’
Recent statistics from food relief organisation SecondBite backed up Mr Matbouly’s claim that parents were skipping meals to make ends meet.
More than three per cent of Queensland parents surveyed said they were forgoing up to 10 meals a week.
Serving Our People’s chief marketing officer revealed that it decided to open their second store in Logan because people from the suburb had been routinely travelling to the Gold Coast to visit their first store.
The charity is working closely with Logan City Council and Treasurer Jim Chalmers to try and open their next charity store at Inala before Christmas.
In order to do this Mr Matbouly said that it will have to recruit roughly 70 volunteers each week to meet demand.