A pop-up supermarket at Wandana Community Centre is helping families get enough to eat as the rising cost of living and other pressures take a toll.

The low-cost supermarket trades fortnightly on Wednesday at the Gilles Plain site and offers affordable pantry staples, bakery items and fresh produce.

The initiative is a partnership between Centacare and fellow not-for-profit The Food Centre, based at Gepps Cross.

Wandana Community Centre Manager Robyn Johnson said the pop-up supermarket gave families access to items that were often priced out of their reach in mainstream shops.

“The pop-up supermarket sells affordable fresh vegetables, fruit and dry pantry items along with baked goods such as sliced bread, rolls and flat breads,’’ Robyn said.

“People have appreciated the reduced cost after the recent price hikes in mainstream supermarkets.’’

A new hunger report released by Foodbank today in Anti-Poverty Week estimates about 500,000 households on any given day experience food insecurity.

The research states 21 per cent of people nationally had experienced severe food insecurity in the past 12 months – up from 17 per cent in 2021.

Robyn said financial hardship and loneliness were common challenges for people who frequent Wandana, many of whom are new arrivals and migrants.

“In this context, the pop-up supermarket also plays an advocacy role, with people able to make new friends and obtain information about Wandana’s programs and the supports available to them,’’ she said.

“Along with shopping in a quieter and less overwhelming environment, visitors can meet other centre users, stay for a coffee, and obtain information about Wandana’s community programs.

“Many of these programs are offered for free or a gold coin donation. Wandana is also within walking distance for many people which means they are able to save on the cost of transport.’’

In Anti-Poverty Week, Robyn urged the community to check in on one another and have compassion for those facing challenges.

“Look out for your neighbours and friends,’’ she said.

“In our parents and grandparents’ generations, neighbours tended to be more closely connected but in this age of working families, when we drive more often than we walk the streets, we can lose that connection and may not be aware when people are doing it tough.’’

*The low-cost pop-up supermarket is open at Wandana Community Centre from 11am to 1pm on Wednesday, October 26. For more information, phone Wandana on 8215 6330 or visit the centre at 14 Blacks Rd, Gilles Plains.