A service dedicated to making sure those doing it tough have food on their table has received a much-needed boost from City of Newcastle.
The Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist Church Pantry, which supplies low-cost pantry staples, including bread, meat and fruit, has recently received funding through the council’s Boost our City Community Sector Grant.
“We were very blessed to receive funding to go towards transportation and refrigeration needs,” the pantry’s coordinator, Teresa Clark, said.
Ms Clark added funding for transportation was urgently needed as the pantry’s private transport funding donor lost income due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia.
The funding will also allow the pantry to gain access to a large quantity of fresh food and low-cost meat, along with a bigger fridge to store more fresh food during the week to give out on service days.
“It has been a little more difficult to get adequate amounts of fresh produce during COVID, so being able to take what is offered during the week and storing it until service days is really helpful,” Ms Clark said.
Due to COVID-19 related restrictions, the pantry has changed its service from a weekly meal and self-service to pre-packed hampers, a drive-through service and a home delivery option.
More than 50 families benefit from the volunteer-run service each week.
“We are so grateful to be able to provide for the needs of the community here and for a city council that is willing to help us in doing so, especially during this time of COVID,” Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist Church Pastor, Justin Torossian, said.
Councillor Carol Duncan said the grants were one of the city’s responses to help people through the pandemic.
“There are a lot of people who are finding getting through this awful time even more difficult than it was previously, so this pantry is essential, it’s the lifeblood that sustains a lot of people that come through here each week,” she said.
The Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist Church Pantry has been functioning for over three years, with more than 100 volunteers supporting the charity over that period.