In common with many regional cities in Australia, Maryborough on the central Queensland coast has been saddled with the double whammy of a growing unemployment rate and an aging population – circumstances which lead to many people having restricted means to afford the basic necessities of life.
As a Christian church with a mission heart for helping those in need, LifeChurch at Maryborough in 2008 established the FoodBasket – a low-cost food club that supports families and individuals on low incomes by providing everyday food items and household staples at well below retail prices.
The man in charge of this is Mick Wait, who started as a casual truck driver four years ago and two years later rose to the position of Manager.
Being a former long-distance truck driver, Mick possesses the necessary skills to deliver the goods, as well as a caring heart for helping those in need within his local community. As such, it’s obvious he gains a great deal of satisfaction from doing his job well.
“We’re a ministry of LifeChurch Maryborough and we operate a small retail not-for-profit grocery store,” Mick explains. “Anyone with a Health Care or Pension card is welcome to become a member, which entitles them to shop here. We have lots of either free or really low-cost items available.”
The food items come from a variety of sources, some free and others purchased at low prices, which enables all the operating costs to be covered.
All of the food is transported to the FoodBasket’s Maryborough site from various locations around Brisbane in a Hino 500 Series Standard Cab truck fitted with a 10-pallet refrigerated body. The unit was supplied by Brisbane-based Scully Refrigerated Special Vehicles (Scully RSV) and replaced an older Japanese truck with a six-pallet body.
According to Mick, the new Hino has made a phenomenal difference to the operation due to a number of improvements over the old truck, not least that it can carry nearly twice the cargo while at the same time using precious little more fuel.
Another big plus is that the Carrier refrigeration unit can be plugged into mains power when stationary, enabling the FoodBasket to use the truck as an overflow cold storage facility when it’s not on the road.
“Our previous truck had a six-pallet body with the refrigeration compressor running off the truck’s engine which wasn’t ideal,” Mick explained. “It worked okay while the vehicle was moving but when it was stationary with the engine idling it really didn’t have the capacity to maintain the required temperature, particularly in the middle of summer.
“The new unit has no problems pulling the temperature down, regardless of the freight or the time of year,” he asserts, adding that the difference between the new and previous truck is like chalk and cheese. “Moving to the new truck brought us many benefits most importantly it’s a lot bigger. We’ve gone from a 3.9 tonne payload to 7.0 tonnes with the new Hino.”