Ignite Food Store Manager, Rosemary Peri

Since 2008, the Ignite Food Store (The Store) has provided low-cost, fresh and healthy food to the Mount Druitt community. It also trains and employs local people in retail and provides work experience to unemployed people.

Mount Druitt is one of the most disadvantaged suburbs in all of Sydney. The Store has become a critical part of the infrastructure that means local people can feed their families.

“Our aim is that we can provide affordable food to our customers. Just because people are struggling doesn’t mean that they just have to buy generic brands,” says Rosemary Peri, Store Manager at Ignite Food Store.

When COVID-19 hit, The Store was one of our services that felt the impact the most. Jesuit Social Services had spent years building up a network of regular food drives in parishes and schools that underpinned the supply of stock for the store.

The introduction of social distancing rules meant these food drives could no longer be held and this reduced the food on the shelves by at least 50 per cent. Keeping shelves stocked has meant purchasing more and more food and that has increased costs significantly.

Jesuit Social Services is determined that the Ignite Food Store remains open as it plays a vital role in the community.

“People know that they can come in with $10 and get a fair amount of fresh, healthy food and they know that they are always welcome here to get them through to the next pay day or to get them through hard times,” says Rosemary.

The Store has established contactless delivery and drop-off services for food donations, and provides hand sanitizer, gloves and masks for customers in store.

Crucially, The Store continues to support the local community by providing groceries and food hampers to local community service agencies and schools.

The Store is remaining open for people to access affordable groceries. Our staff will continue to be there for people who were already in difficult circumstances before COVID-19.