Food pantry keeps growing

When pastorsCie and Stephen ‘Lotty’Lottfirstsaw the difference a food pantry could makein the lives of those struggling to make ends meet in Coffs Harbour, they knew they wanted to havethe same impact in Moree. Celebrating its two-year anniversary today,the local pantry is still going strong,running out of the Lifehouse Care Shop in Heber Street.
Nanjing Night Net

Tamara Bartlett, Cie Lott, Shirley Jackson, Jarrod Grant, Clare Sturdy, Janette Hodges, Casey Ryan, April Ireland and Lis Strahan.

“We saw a need for that andwe got on board,” Cie said. The pantry, which has served over 650 customers in the past twoyears, sells everything from fruit and vegetables to body wash and moisturiser for $1 or $2 a piece. Available to anyone carrying a pension or Centrelink card, the pantry is open on Thursdays from 10am to noon.

“We’re generally flat out for the first hour,” organiser Lis Strahan said.

“In general on a weekly basis, we probably have between 30 and 40 on a good day.” Despiteits ever-growing popularity, Cie and Lis both hope to see it reach even further.

“I think if there were more people aware it would be even better,” Lis said.

“The people who come in, they’re like, ‘Oh we didn’t know about it.’” Cie agreed, and said the tiny space continues to find new regulars. Cie believed the outreach was a blessing to the community. She felt that providing affordable food staples could help many locals doing it tough breathe a little easier.

April Ireland and Shirley Jackson sort the fruit and vegetables each week.

“We just wanted to be a church in action helping with whatever need that we can.”

Lis took over the organisation of the pantry around five months ago, and said she loves striking up conversations with her customers. Run entirely by hard-working volunteers, community spirit is high in the little room.

“I try and remember everyone’s name as much as possible. You can see the difference,” Lis said.“You get people who come through and they’re just so grateful for what we’re providing.”

The pantry expanded its working hours recently, running through the school holidays for the first time. Lis was pleased to see the experiment work out, and said there was no real reduction in clients.

Tamara Bartlett and Lis Strahan.

The pantry has four different pricing sections; starting with A for items costing $2 each, right down to D which provides four items for just $1. Customers must purchase a minimum of $12 of goods, but will also be provided with complimentary bread, fruit and vegetables.Cie and Lis were blown away by Woolworths’ faithful supportand generous donations from local farmers.

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