Give what you can, take what you need

Give what you can, take what you need
Rebecca Smith

Not knowing where your next meal is coming from is a sad reality for many people. The official term for this is “food insecurity”. It’s an ever-increasing problem, even in the gentrified suburbs of Kensington and Flemington.

Back at the start of the pandemic, an enterprising group of local volunteers established the McCracken Street Food Share Pantry on the front verandah of Kensington Neighbourhood House (KNH). You’ve probably walked past and noticed the colourful collection of bottle tops and bread tags collected on the side of the pantry.

The pantry provides an opportunity for locals to donate food and for anyone to take what they need. It is open 24/7. The pantry also provides personal care items, cleaning products, fresh produce once a month and pet food. During the past three years, the pantry has become a reliable, community owned, local food source.

It’s an amazing example of community work. A simple idea brought to life by the energy and dedication of a group of volunteers and kept alive by the generosity and goodwill of local residents. Every day of the week, there is a steady stream of visitors.

The pantry is used by a whole range of community members including many seniors and families living in public housing, asylum seekers, international students (not eligible for many other supports) and those experiencing homelessness who visit the pantry to get through each week.

The pantry model is unique because there are no eligibility requirements to access it. There is no stigma and no shame to visiting the pantry. Given that people need to jump through hoops these days to access even the simplest social supports, our freely accessible pantry provides something amazing – dignity and personal choice.

KNH extends an enormous thank you to the team of volunteers who keep the pantry running. They do an amazing job. We are also grateful for the support of the many local businesses who donate regularly.

With Christmas fast approaching, we would love to stock up on donated supplies to get through the holiday time. Pantry donation boxes have been set up at various places around the neighbourhood to make donating easy.

If you’d like to provide some supplies, you are welcome to put them in the pantry at any time or drop them into Kensington Neighbourhood House during business hours. •

kensingtonneighbourhoodhouse.com

John Buncle

John Buncle

February 14th, 2024 - Felicity Jack
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