A valuable project which helps people on low incomes with essential food items has moved into bigger premises in Hastings town centre.
The Food Pantry Project has opened next to Hastings Furniture Service (HFS) in Dorset Place, having operated for a year in Middle Street.
Hastings mayor Cllr Nigel Sinden officially opened the new venue, and heard how the Pantry has proved invaluable support for many people on low incomes, enabling them to have access to items of long life food for a small donation, plus bread, toiletries, fruit and vegetables. Members can also stay for a tea or coffee and socialise as isolation can be a problem for people without much money.
Helen Barraclough, chief executive of ETC Sussex, said: “Our temporary home in Middle Street enabled us to establish the project but our new premises means we can develop the Pantry to meet the growing needs of the local community.
“New members are welcome but membership numbers are limited in line with food supplies. Proof of benefit will be required. Referrals are also taken from local agencies who must provide evidence of the client’s need. We have also found that many working people need food support as irregular incomes often lead to a crisis.”
Peter Carcas, chairman of Relief, said: “Our trustees initiated the Pantry as the growth in the number of grant requests to us demonstrated a growing need for the longer term support that people required. The Pantry provides this as well as giving access to additional support services that may be needed.
“We would like to thank all the volunteers who put in such hard work refurbishing the new premises, the Chalk Cliff Trust who helped fund the improvements, and HFS for providing the accommodation.”
The Pantry was set up by local charities, Relief and ETC Sussex. It has been supported by Hastings Voluntary Action, Sussex Community Foundation, Chalk Cliff Trust, the National Lottery Community Fund, and local supermarkets, Asda, Morrisons and Tesco.
If you can help with volunteering either in the Pantry or driving to collect food, call 01424 444691 and leave your details or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.etxsussex.weebly.com or www.reliefhastings.weebly.com.