Pantry proving to be life line for those struggling with food bills
- Credit: Kirkley Pantry
A pantry is proving to be a life line for those in the community who are struggling with everyday food bills.
In response to the needs of the Kirkley community Kirkley Pantry, a branch of ‘Your Local Pantry’ has opened on Tuesdays at 10am to 3.30 in Kirkley Church Hall, St Peter’s Road, Lowestoft.
The pantry is the only one in the east of England and is not a food bank because there are no vouchers, no referrals and no questions asked.
Talking about the pantry, volunteer Paul Light said: "Anyone who has found that, after paying all the household bills, there is very little left over for food can become a member of Kirkley Pantry at any time.
"It is a membership scheme where for £3.50 each week members can shop at the pantry and select at least 10 items of their own choosing from a wide selection of high quality products including tinned, chilled, and fresh. The value of these items is approximately £15.
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"Shopping at the local pantry means people can bring down their food shopping bills, and access good food, whilst freeing up more money for other essentials and enabling tight budgets to stretch a little further."
Kirkley Pantry is a member of Lowestoft Food Forum and working with FareShare, Neighbourly, Church Action on Poverty, East Suffolk Council, Suffolk County Council, Suffolk Community Action and Lowestoft Rising.
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The aim of the forum is to reduce food poverty, food inequality and reduce the amount of food finishing up in landfill sites.
Talking about the future Mr Light said: "If there are any further lockdown restrictions Kirkley Pantry will remain open for shoppers because we can accommodate a single shopper at a time.
"The hopes are to develop this with cooking experiences, new adventures in food tasting, nutritional information, recipes and more.
"A café is planned so members can meet and socialise – a chance to meet old friends and make new ones, have a nourishing meal, and be guided towards other helpful services.
"We are also looking to adapt the garden into vegetable plots to supplement the food available."
If you are interested in becoming a member of Kirkley Pantry please call 01502 589112 or visit www.yourlocalpantry.co.uk/kirkleypantry