August 5, 2023
With the cost of living crisis still putting pressure on people’s pockets, community pantries are a much-needed and well used lifeline for many families. SPTM Big Local spoke to Kath Lynch from The Fresh Hope Family Pantry at The Rock about what’s on offer and its plans for empowering the local community.
Q: When did the Family Pantry start up and how did it come about?
Kath: “We started the Fresh Hope Family Pantry in March 2023 and we set it up because we realised that it’s becoming more and more difficult for low-income families to access nutritious food at accessible prices. We’re hoping that as well as having the pantry, we can build a place of community where people can come, have a coffee, spend a bit of time and have a chat, and ultimately start to add some things on to that, that will help people with daily life, so maybe some cookery lessons, budgeting, and recipe ideas.”
Q: What days and times are you open?
Kath: “We are open Friday mornings between 9am and 12pm, all year round. We are also open on Monday afternoons in term-time between 3.30pm and 5pm, which coincides with The Rock’s cookery club, and families can come in for that.”
Q: How many people access the pantry and how can people access it?
Kath: “We see roughly 20 families per week. When people come along for the first time, we ask them to complete a membership form. It’s essentially self-referral. They then pay £4 each time they come, and for that, they can take 10 shelf items and 2 items from the fridge or freezer as well as free fruit and veg, and sanitary products.”
Q: Where do you get your donations from?
Kath: “We have some private donations and some funding that has been provided by Gloucester Diocese. We are looking all the time to build donations.”
Q: Which areas do you serve?
Kath: “We mostly cover the local area, including St Pauls, St Peter’s and The Moors, and Gardners Lane.”
Q: What is the pantry’s mission in a nutshell?
Kath: “The whole aim of Fresh Hope is to provide projects for the local community that support and empower families. The thing I really like about the Fresh Hope Family Pantry is that it has dignity. People have choice and it’s just like coming shopping. We always try to have really good quality basics and stock the things that people tell us they need.”
The pantry is located at The Rock, St. Peter’s Church on Tewkesbury Road.
To find out more about the Family Pantry or if you’d like to make a donation, contact Kath Lynch at email@example.com