Little-known Aussie supermarket offering a trolley full of groceries for just $25

Aussie shoppers can score grocery items for up to 70 per cent off.

Families across the country are counting their dollars as the cost-of-living crisis continues, with food and housing said to be the biggest source of financial stress for many households.

And while a trolley full of groceries from a regular supermarket will likely cost most households upward of $100 nowadays, one Aussie retailer is offering up sizable grocery bundles for just $25 to struggling families.

The scheme, offered by LighthouseCare, a family-run not-for-profit supermarket, is "available to anyone" said Rochelle Hill, whose parents-in-law, Debbie and Ron founded the business twenty years ago. "There's no catch, you just walk into the store and ask for a $25 trolley, and you get a trolley of repacked items," she told Yahoo News Australia. "There's no limit on how many we give out."

A trolley full of groceries from lighthousecare which costs just $25
The charity offers $25 trolleys to struggling families which includes a range of fresh produce and dry goods which would normally cost over $100. Source: Supplied/LightHouseCare

The trolley changes daily but always includes a range of essential items such as fridge and freezer items, non-perishable pantry items and fresh produce. The trolleys are available from one of their purpose-built stores in Loganholme and Hillcrest in Queensland and have been available for $25 since the charity started.

"If you tally everything up, it does go into the hundreds. Our team work hard to pretty much source all the food at a discounted rate," Hill said. "And then we sell it at like 50 % to 70% off the normal retail price in the store".

The charity has grown substantially since it began in 2004 with founders Ron and Debbie handing out free bread from the back of a van. On average, the charity sells roughly 400 trolleys each week to its 75,000 members and has helped roughly 500,000 people each year. All money goes back into running the charity.

$25 trolley lighthousecare tiktok reciept
Rochelle, who works at LightHouse proved on social media that the trolleys are sold for just $25. Source: TikTok

More people than ever seeking support

But it's "heartbreaking" to see the growing number of people needing extra help of late, many of whom can't even afford the necessities as the cost of living soars, Hill said.

"There has been an insane rise of families messaging or just showing up to the Lighthouse asking for help in the past year," she said. And it's a problem felt nationwide.

Speaking on ABC radio on Tuesday morning, Paul Turton from VincentCare, which provides homelessness support services across Victoria, said: "It's really about [having access] to some of the basic — food, clothing and it's choosing to pay rent over buying food". In recent months, VincentCare has also noticed more people than ever seeking support.

"People who've never come to homelessness support services before in their lives are now presenting because they can't pay rent and they can't pay the bills," Turton said.

Growing number of Aussies needing help is 'alarming'

The latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that on average in the last financial year, more than 100,000 Australians were supported by a homelessness service every day. Of all people accessing support, one in four said it was due to the housing crisis and housing affordability stress. And lately, service staff can't keep up with demand.

Our assistance centres are being overwhelmed by the demand and it's demand we haven't seen before," Turton said.

"The numbers of people turned away is really alarming," added Homelessness Australia CEO Kate Colvin. "Right now, too many people are not getting the help they need to escape homelessness."

Homelessness NSW CEO Dom Rowe agreed services are doing their best to keep up but it isn't enough. "Homelessness services are so stretched. Frontline services do the best they can to keep people housed, but there are not enough homes and inadequate funding to keep up with demand," she said.

While employment once protected Australians from homelessness, Council to Homeless Persons CEO Deborah Di Natale said this was no longer the case."Soaring rents and the lack of social housing have eroded that buffer for many people," she said.

"And if it's difficult to keep a roof over your head while working full or part-time, it's virtually impossible to do so on a very low or no income," she added.

LighthouseCare staff Queensland.
Rochelle (far left) works with founders Ron and Debbie (front) at the family-run not-for-profit LighthouseCare in Queensland. Source: Supplied/LighthouseCare

Charity 'struggling' with rising grocery costs

Hill, from LighthouseCare, said they're on a mission to "provide heavily discounted groceries to help families in need" but the rising cost of groceries has made it difficult for them too. On average, annual food inflation is sitting at 7.5 per cent according to the latest figures from the ABS.

"I don't even know how we're doing it," said Hill who confirmed, despite what many think, none of the food they sell has been donated. The major supermarkets on the other hand have recorded sky-high profits. Woolworths posted a $1.6 billion profit last financial year, up 4.6 per cent, while Coles recorded a $1.1 billion profit, up 4.8 per cent.

"It's tough because we've aimed to keep [the trolley] at $25, which has been really hard for us to maintain [with the rising cost of goods]. We used to have a lot of meat products, and then with the rising cost of living, it kind of changed a bit. But we do aim to get some kind of protein in there, like chicken wings," she said.

To help support families struggling to make ends meet, visit LighthouseCare to donate.

with AAP

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