Adelaide food saviour could soon have to shut up shop


For those struggling to afford food, Kat Lee’s shop, which charges just $2 for a basket of food, could soon have to close its doors leaving them with nowhere to turn.

Kat Lee knows what it’s like to go hungry.

The mother of seven has struggled to afford food since her marriage broke up 22 years ago and her parenting payments stopped when her youngest turned 16.

“I know what it's like to go without. I raised seven children on my own and I'd eat every third day. One meal every third day,” she says.

“So I know what it's like to go without, to struggle, to feel like you're nothing.”

The 59-year-old is on Newstart, and despite her own hardships she’s determined to lend a helping hand to others.

Kat Lee makes sure her shop is always stocked with as much produce as possible. Photo: Supplied

Six years ago she started operating a charity food shop from her home. Two years ago she decided to expand and moved her operation into a shop in Rosewater, in Adelaide’s Western suburbs and is now an incorporated charity.

There she charges people just $2 for a basket of food which they can fill with bread, fruit and vegetables, milk and a selection of free produce. Other foods such as meat are available at low cost.

All the food is sourced herself from Foodbank and donations she receives from companies like Bakers Delight and local fruit and vegetable grocers.

Between 30 to 50 people a day come into the shop for food, and no questions are asked.

“I know what it's like myself being someone who has struggled at how degrading it can be to explain why you're in that situation so we don't ask anything like that,” she says.

“Anybody's welcome to come in and do their shopping here.”

"I don't get government funding or any help from the government. It's all what comes in through the door and my own money."

While Kat has regular customers who claim they would have nowhere else to turn without her shop, she could soon be forced to close the doors thanks to rising costs and debt.

“I'm drowning. It's starting to get to the stage where I'm looking at how much longer can I stay open?” she says.

Kat takes no wage from the work in her shop and uses her own money, and the small amount of money from customers, to pay the rent.

“I'm struggling big time. I don't get government funding or any help from the government. It's all what comes in through the door and my own money,” she says.

In the western suburb Kat says there isn’t much else around to help people who are struggling. She also claims places like the Salvos and Wesley Mission have sent hungry people to her as they can’t help them.

Yet despite the need for her services her days appear numbered.

“I want to help people and I remember what is was like worrying that your kids have enough food to eat and being hungry and exhausted yourself.”

Source SBS Insight

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