The town centre food pantry project, which helps people on low incomes with essential food, has now moved from Middle Street to its new premises in Dorset Place next to Hastings Furniture Service. It opened to the public last Friday with the official opening on 8th October.

The Pantry operates a membership scheme for people to collect ten items of food and household essentials for £2.50 per week. This has proved invaluable for many people on low incomes enabling them to have access to items of long-life food for a small donation plus bread, toiletries as well as fruit and vegetables. Members can also socialise over a cup of tea or coffee as lack of money can often bring social isolation.

The Pantry was set up by local charities, Relief and ETC Sussex. Those bewildered by the number of charities working in the food sector will be reassured to know that there is regular liaison between them and that, according to Peter Carcas, Chairman of Relief: “they all respond to specific needs”. 

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.” 

Although new members are welcome, she said that membership numbers are limited in line with food supplies and there will need to be proof of benefit. The same applies to referrals from local agencies who must also provide evidence of their client’s need. 

Peter said: “Our trustees initiated The Pantry as the growth in the number of grant requests to us demonstrated the growing need for longer term support that people required. The Pantry provides this as well as giving access to additional support services that may be needed.”

The Pantry 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 please call 01424 444691 and leave your details or email [email protected] 

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