Anglicare Mobile Community Pantry van arrives in North Richmond | Hawkesbury Gazette

Anglicare is partnering with Kurrajong and the North Richmond Anglican Church to provide deeply discounted groceries to Hawkesbury residents who are feeling financial stress on their shopping budget.

Every fortnight a specially stocked Anglicare Mobile Community Pantry van will hand out individual shopping packs worth up to $50 for just $12.

Volunteers from Kurrajong and the Anglican Church of North Richmond greet a well-stocked Mobile Community Pantry van at the St Phillips distribution point in North Richmond. Picture: Provided.

Everyone is welcome to take advantage of the Anglicare service whenever the van is around – and enjoy a cup of tea or coffee at the same time.

The range of dry products offered includes breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, preserves, UHT milk, soups, sauces, baby food, culinary condiments and confectionery.

The special shopping service will begin operating from North Richmond Anglican Church Hall on Bells Line of Road on February 21, hosted by the parish community of Kurrajong-North Richmond.

Senior Minister Peter Wood has launched the Community Pantry‘s regular visits to Hawkesbury after witnessing how it has helped meet a valuable need in the Ropes Crossing area near St Marys, where he previously led the local Anglican church.

He said the one-hour discounted shopping opportunity also gave Anglicare and church members the opportunity to engage with people and provided a meeting point for anyone new to the area to socialize. connect with other community members.

Based on experience at other locations, and with many local families facing new financial constraints of late, Reverend Wood expected the van to initially deliver cheaper necessities to about 10-15 families or individuals on each visit and growing as word spreads.

Mobile Community Pantry vans, each loaded with more than $2,000 worth of supermarket goods, are already delivering to 57 communities around NSW, from the Blue Mountains to Tamworth, Nowra and Sydney suburbs.

The subsidized grocery service has grown since the first van hit the road in 2016.

Anglicare buys around 30% of its groceries directly from food processors, while 70% is bought from the food bank, which collects donated products nearing their expiry date from retailers and suppliers.

Chief Minister Peter Wood and Deputy Minister Robbie Nichols sample the Mobile Community Pantry's range of groceries with Aaron Li, Coordinator of Anglicare's Mobile Community Pantry.  Picture: Provided.

Chief Minister Peter Wood and Deputy Minister Robbie Nichols sample the Mobile Community Pantry’s range of groceries with Aaron Li, Coordinator of Anglicare’s Mobile Community Pantry. Picture: Provided.

The increasingly diverse and growing community of North Richmond was chosen as the ideal base to establish a local footprint.

Stephen Kuo, Anglocare’s West Region Partnership Development Manager, said the charity had been keen to start a pantry service in the Hawkesbury for some time.

“This church hall site, conveniently located next to a main road, has plenty of open spaces for parking and provides a relaxed setting. It answers our prayers,” he said.

“Anglicare cares for people in need in our community, responding to their changing social and financial circumstances and sharing the love of Jesus.”

Shoppers from anywhere are encouraged to fill a $12 shopping bag with as much food as it can hold. No questions are asked about a buyer’s financial situation.

Mobile pantry coordinator Aaron Li said regular visitors to the other sites come from a wide range of backgrounds.

“We don’t assume anything,” he said. “Mortgage stress, COVID-related pressures, changing family circumstances or lack of work can leave anyone feeling the pinch and struggling to buy what they need from the supermarket.

“We try to help people, build helpful relationships and provide helpful hospitality within the community.”

Volunteers from Kurrajong and North Richmond Anglican Church will be on hand to serve hot and cold drinks and assist customers with shopping or carrying bags.

Kurrajong and North Richmond Anglican Church volunteers Jodie Paul and Sue Bennett examine the well-stocked shelves of a specially fitted Anglicare community pantry van.  Picture: Provided.

Kurrajong and North Richmond Anglican Church volunteers Jodie Paul and Sue Bennett examine the well-stocked shelves of a specially fitted Anglicare community pantry van. Picture: Provided.

Local pantry coordinator and deputy minister Robbie Nichols believed there were many families and people in dire need of help.

“Jesus spoke of loving your neighbor and doing good to all,” he said. “We have the perfect opportunity to do this in a small way by being part of the mobile pantry.”

Anglicare also works with local churches to identify where it can provide other community services such as pastoral care, vocational training and English classes, or even recommend assistance with financial planning for those in need.

The Mobile Community Pantry at St Phillip’s Parish Hall, 151 Bells Line of Road, will offer individual grocery bags filled with whatever items shoppers choose for $12 fortnightly between 1 and 2 p.m. from the 21st of February.

Norma P. Rex