The Facts

 

Fig. 1

Breakdown of customer base

The Free Store is an inclusive space where all are welcome. Needless to say, our community is very diverse. Many of our friends are without homes but the large majority have a roof over their head: whether that be local Council housing, the night shelter, a boarding house or independent living arrangements. Many of our friends are unemployed while some have a form of employment or contribute meaningfully in their community through volunteering. Most of our friends are single while others have partners or families. 

 

Average Number of Customers Per Night

 

60%

Unemployed & Housed

25%

Some form of employment

15%

Unemployed & Homeless

 

 

Fig. 2

Our growing food supply

As our average customer numbers have increased over the years the quantity of food we redistribute has increased to match. There has always been enough food to go round. In 2014 we had 25 suppliers and a plan to grow to 50 by the end of 2015. This was surpassed in 2016 when we had 65 by the end of the year. As we have increased our supply base we have seen greater numbers of healthy, nutritious food items and a relative reduction in the number of sweet food items. This is a trend we are proud of and very glad to see!

 

Number of Food Items Redistributed

 

A conservative estimate of the average retail value of the food we redistribute every single week.

$22,000         ―

 

 

Enough food for the people

One of the most noticeable and unintended trends we've noticed at The Free Store is the fact that there is always enough food for the number of people we serve each day. It appears to be a miraculous equilibrium. The quirky thing is that on days where there are large numbers of people there is an abundance of food but on days where we have fewer customers we also have less food. We can't explain it. But as you can see below in the line graph the dips and rises in the food supply are matched by the customer numbers.

Fig. 3

 

2016 Monthly Totals: Dips & Rises