Love thy neighbour – free groceries and delivery

Published on 30 April 2020


When Pradeep Tiwari, shop owner of Bharat Traders International, was greeted with shouts of joy by a little girl just because he’d delivered one roll of toilet paper, he was a little taken aback.

Pradeep, who usually delivers bundles of Indian spices and exotic goods, had taken to stocking toilet paper, staple foods and hand sanitiser because his clients were asking for these necessities.

He soon found that many of his new customers were those who were elderly or who had a disability.

“There was one lady who opened the door and she had a severe case of Parkinson’s disease and was shaking extremely hard, from behind her a little girl came out jumping with joy yelling, ‘Mummy we finally got toilet paper, thank you so much!’,” Pradeep said.  

“The mum explained she hadn’t been able to go outside the last few days and when she did, she was unable to find toilet paper. It had become difficult to explain to the little one why they didn’t have toilet paper.

“I went home and shared this with my family, it literally brought tears to our eyes,” Pradeep continued.

The next day Pradeep decided to pull together a database of vulnerable people to whom he would deliver free groceries so that they had one less thing to worry about during social isolation.

“On the first day of free deliveries, I delivered to a gentleman who was being fed through tubes in his stomach, as he was even unable to get out of his chair. I was reluctant to go inside peoples’ houses and usually dropped these packages to their doors, however this gentleman on the phone requested me specifically to assist him by putting the groceries inside,” Pradeep explained.

“Wearing my full PPE gear, I went inside and heard that the man’s carer was in self-isolation – she’d assumed that the hospital or other welfare workers would be looking after him, while in the meantime no one had approached him in five days.

“More and more I was finding that carers had left and I was seeing people in such bad plights, it was dreadful. That’s when I decided to contact Council to see if anyone else could help,” Pradeep said.

Mayor Cr Sarah Carter thanked Pradeep, who is also president of the West Footscray Traders Association, for supporting his community with such selflessness.

“When Pradeep contacted Council about the need for deliveries to the vulnerable and elderly, we were happy to help straight away,” she said.

“We offered to deliver the care packages within Maribyrnong and also send welfare workers to visit people in need such as the gentleman mentioned. Our Environmental Health team also ensured the food items were packed safely and with the proper food handling procedures.”

“It was also great to see Brendan Schroeder, owner of West Footscray’s IGA, join forces with Pradeep to provide extra support to the community.

“When Brendan heard about the initiative he immediately insisted that Pradeep take whatever was required at no cost.

“This inspiring initiative is also supported by others who are helping Pradeep with deliveries and giving back to the community.

“Pradeep has shown a real sense of neighbourliness and I encourage everyone to think of ways they can check up on the vulnerable at this time, while maintaining safe physical distancing guidelines.”

If you know someone who is elderly or who has a disability and would benefit from this program, please contact

Caption: Pradeep Tiwari West Footscray Traders Association President, Mayor Cr Sarah Carter and Trevor Walker Store Manager WF IGA

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