The longer term solution to food banks got off the ground when Guinness joined forces with local partners Manor and Castle Development Trust, Park Action Community, Great Places and food distribution charity Fair Share Yorkshire to open the pantry at the Park Centre in Sheffield.
Food pantries are a means-tested, sustainable and longer term option to food banks, which are only able to provide short term, occasional support to families suffering from food poverty. Food pantries supply frozen, refrigerated and fresh food – items that short-term food banks are unable to provide – like fruit and fresh vegetables. As a result, users of the pantry must live within three miles of the centre or be able to travel home within 15 minutes to ensure the food can be refrigerated quickly enough for it to remain safely edible.
Funding to fight food poverty
Brian Hamlin, Sustainment Enabler at Guinness applied for the Aspire funding on behalf of the charity Park Action Community, to help support the launch of the food pantry initiative. “The pantry works on a membership scheme basis, with a weekly subscription of £2.50. For that payment, customers leave with around £15 of quality food, which is fantastic.
“The pantry’s sustainable because the service is supported by volunteers and the income is related to those memberships. This is why the Aspire Award was a great way to help get things started.”
Membership is reviewed every six months. This allows members to make the most of support that’s put in place to help them understand the circumstances that pushed them into food poverty and, if possible, help them to overcome it. Though it’s not always possible, the hope is that by working with the volunteers at the food pantry, members can eventually find other ways to get the food they need and the organisation can go on to help even more people.
How can you help?
If you’d like to set up a similar project or initiative in your area that would benefit Guinness customers and be supported by the local community, why not consider applying for an Aspire Award to receive funding to get started? You can read more about the Awards on our website.
Pictured are Bex Powl (volunteer), Tracy Brown (Manor and Castle project worker) and Darren Burton (Manager of Fairshare, Yorkshire).