Ipswich Food Barn managing director Qim Kauwhata
Ipswich Food Barn managing director Qim Kauwhata Rob Williams

Foodbarn forced to shelf free food until further notice

SQUISHED food and stolen car parks are plaguing Ipswich Foodbarn, which will shelve its free food scheme until they can solve the problem.

After developing a relationship with big supermarkets such as Costco and Coles, the Foodbarn has been inundated with excess produce to hand out to the needy.

Six weeks on, 'a few bad eggs' have ruined it for everyone, littering produce around the car park, taking up space designated for other businesses in their Woodend complex and abusing staff.

FoodBarn manager Qim Kauwhata said her team didn't know how to deal with some of the aggression shown.


The aftermath of 'a few' ruining a free, integral service for the community.
The aftermath of 'a few' ruining a free, integral service for the community. Contributed

"It all started when we decided to accept the offer of all of this produce coming on site and allow us to give it back to the community," she said.

"Everybody up our street has been affected by a small group of our clients who have decided to be aggressive with parking ... what they can't carry they leave on the footpath and walk away from it."

"We've had to send out volunteers to pick up the rubbish - our volunteers aren't made for these sorts of things - they've been attacked."

The 'bad few' are littering and disrupting parking on Darling St, East, West St, and Martin St in Woodend.

Until the problem can be resolved, Ms Kauwhata said she will be cancelling the supermarket trucks and only continuing with hampers for the needy.

"The hampers are still going to go ahead - the free produce - we still have a little bit on site, we're going to open up and have people clean us out," she said.

"We're hoping we can come to some sort of conclusion until we can move forward safely without impeding on anyone's business.

"Unfortunately we just weren't ready for the amount of people that we needed to deal with."

Ms Kauwhata said space is integral, however due to operating as a charity, paying the big bucks for a bigger space isn't feasible.

"Ideally (we need) something with just a bigger carpark to bring everybody off the road and into a safer area where they can collect their food," she said.