Free Community Pantry Opens in Tuggeranong Amid Growing Needs | Canberra weather


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A free community pantry has opened at Lakeside Leisure Center in Tuggeranong after staff noticed “an alarming increase in the number of people living out of their cars and paying for on-site showers.” The Pantry is meant to help people who have trouble getting food on the table, a common occurrence in Canberra, despite its comfortable plating. It’s located on the site of the Greenway Recreation Center and restocked three times a week through the Coles and SecondBite community food program. Lakeside Leisure Center manager Kristen James said no membership was required to access the pantry, which was restocked on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. “Since the doors reopened after the lockdown in September of last year, we have noticed an alarming increase in the number of people living out of their cars and paying for showers on site,” Ms. James said. “We have a very strong community and consistent customer base at Lakeside, and our staff and regular members wanted to do something to help. SecondBite is one of Australia’s largest food rescue organizations partnering with farmers, manufacturers and retailers to save excess and unsold food and redistribute it for free to community food programs and feed those in need. Through the Coles and SecondBite community food program, SecondBite connects charities and nonprofits to collect donated food at Coles stores. In June, the Lakeside Leisure Center was connected to Coles Tuggeranong to collect unsold food such as bread, fruit, vegetables and canned goods for its free community pantry service. The new community pantry comes as during National Homeless Week this week and new research from SecondBite which finds that three in four community-based charities are experiencing higher demand from vulnerable Australians compared to the same. period last year, especially from single-parent families and those affected by homelessness and unemployment. Research also shows that nearly 80 percent of charity and community partners surveyed saw an increase in demand for their food aid programs compared to last year. The center created a street library two years ago to allow customers to exchange books. Over the past year, the concept has expanded to include food and other essential supplies. “The food was going really fast, so we set up a vegetable garden at the back to start growing fresh produce,” Ms. James said. The new partnership with Coles and SecondBite has reduced reliance on community donations and increased the volume of food available to the community. SecondBite CEO Steve Clifford said, “We are very proud to connect Y Lakeside Recreation Center to collect unsold food donated by Coles Tuggeranong. It’s a win-win situation to end waste and hunger ”. The center, meanwhile, was not just a place for people to exercise. “At the Y we believe in building healthier, happier and better connected communities and as a nonprofit we are always looking for ways to give back in meaningful ways,” said Ms. James. “We warmly invite everyone to visit us at the corner of Anketell Street and Athllon Drive in Greenway to see what is available. All Y staff are committed to protecting the privacy and dignity of everyone who can. benefit from the pantry. ” Lakeside Leisure Center is operated by the Y NSW on behalf of the ACT government.

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Norma P. Rex