The West Somerset Food Cupboard (WSFC) has been providing emergency food from the Parish Church of St. Michael the Archangel, Alcombe, since 2007.
On the 9th May 2022, WSFC established the Local Pantry. The Local Pantry is a membership scheme formed through a partnership agreement with supermarket surplus charity Fareshare South West and Somerset West and Taunton Council’s Local Pantries initiative.
The scheme allows 40 local members, who live within 15 minutes travel time of Alcombe, to access fresh, chilled and non-perishable supermarket food that would otherwise have gone to waste, at a minimal cost. Members collect their food at an agreed time each week and can benefit from this arrangement for up to six months.
The Local Pantry is proudly celebrating its 1st year of operation. Providing this service is not possible without the support of its incredible volunteers. Every Tuesday they receive and sort surplus supermarket food and locally sourced food. This food is allocated into 40 portions, which can then be turned into delicious family meals – all for £3.50 per week. It is estimated that the Local Pantry has created 20,000 meals because of the scheme.
Operations Manager, Ali Sanderson, comments,
“We are so grateful to our volunteers for generously giving us their time to support the Local Pantry. They are all an absolute joy to work with, and we are so appreciative for their commitment, enthusiasm, and support.
Our volunteers allow us to provide this valuable service every week and here on our 1st birthday of the Local Pantry, I want to thank them for enabling us to reach this milestone.”
Katrina Midgley West Somerset Food Cupboard’s Chairperson commented,
“We are delighted to be able to celebrate our 1st birthday with our volunteers. In just one year, the team has grown from 4 to 46 people, including volunteers, staff and trustees. We’ve given out around 1500 emergency food parcels in 2022 and now have 40 households who attend our weekly Local Pantry. Nobody in West Somerset needs to go hungry.”
It is a double celebration, with the local pantry’s first birthday coinciding with The Big Help Out (Monday 8th May), where organisations across the country got together to mark The King’s Coronation and help out locally. The Big Help Out campaign showcases how volunteering benefits both the communities it serves and the people who take part.
At the West Somerset Food Cupboard, volunteers gave up even more of their time lending a hand and helping out with a range of tasks, including stock taking and the quarterly deep clean, which ensure the operation of providing emergency food parcels and the weekly pantry run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
The team were certainly not going to let these special occasions pass without celebration, here are the volunteers enjoying tea and birthday cake!