Norwich Church Community Pantry Feeds Hundreds

A Norwich church’s free community food pantry scheme has fed a record 211 people from 55 families over the past week as it expands to meet increased demand.

Gateway Vineyard Church, Norwich, has set up a new emergency food and household essentials project called The Pantry to meet the growing needs resulting from the Covid-19 crisis.

The Pantry is providing free food parcels to those who have found themselves affected by the current situation and operates on a self-referral basis. To request a food parcel, send an e-mail [email protected]

Pantry founder Katie Lillystone said: “Every week different teams are working inside our Trowse headquarters, packing, sorting, counting and planning. People at home answer emails, families collect donations in their local communities, delivery drivers from stores and food hubs bringing us food to distribute as well as our own delivery drivers taking out our packages and lots of little people joining in on it all.

“Our food parcels are available to everyone on a self-referral basis. Self-referrers can email us directly, they will then receive a link to fill in for the next available delivery or collection window. In this form, people can choose the items they want, including food, baby, and household essentials.

“We also aim to provide fresh food as part of the package. We are a team of volunteers running the operation remotely and from our church offices in Trowse. We operate a click and collect service, and an amazing team of delivery drivers who deliver packages across the city and beyond.

“We love our city and we want to be the hands and feet of Jesus for the people of Norwich. Jesus fed the people, we see it in the feeding of the 5000, and that’s why we do this. We are doing what Jesus would do and showing God’s love in practical ways during this time.

Information sheet

Where do you operate: anywhere in Norwich, mainly postcodes NR1 – NR8, if we have requests from further afield we will refer to another service more locally or offer them a collection slot.

Address: Gateway Vineyard Church Offices, Trowse Sports Hall, Hudson Avenue, Trowse, NR14 8SP

Contact details: [email protected] 01603 920045,

Our needs: We welcome food donations, both essential products from the store cupboard and fresh products (fruits, vegetables, milk, cheese). Donations can be dropped off at our base in Trowse Sports Hall, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10am to 11am. Donations can also be made at The Place, Thorpe St Andrew from 9.30am to 10.30am. We are also looking to borrow a large refrigerator, if a church or project has a spare please contact us.

How we can help other projects: We can direct the requests we receive from particular regions towards more local projects.

Norma P. Rex