Lismore Uniting Church Food Pantry coordinator Barry Perry and other members and supporters celebrated the project’s fourth birthday this week.
Lismore Uniting Church Food Pantry coordinator Barry Perry and other members and supporters celebrated the project’s fourth birthday this week. Marc Stapelberg

Pantry marks four years of feeding cash-strapped locals

IN ITS four years Lismore Uniting Church Food Pantry has grown to 1300 members, but interested parties have ambitious plans to continue that expansion across the North Coast.

Coordinator Barry Perry said the project benefited those in financial need, and even helped the environment.

“It’s recycling food donated by major retailers (and) farmers. They donate their excess food stock,” he said.

“And it’s alleviating poverty and helping the disadvantaged to stretch their dollar further.”

The community, including Lismore MP Thomas George and mayor Jenny Dowell, gathered together at the Uniting Church on Thursday to celebrate the project’s birthday.

“This is the only place in New South Wales this is happening,” Mr George said.

“Where there’s a combination of services working with each other to produce such a wonderful service like this.

“Vinnies are providing vouchers to their clients to come down to the food pantry and get virtually double the value in their vouchers.”

The executive officer for St Vincent de Paul, Michael Timbrell, said a lot of hard work went into developing this partnership.

“What we realised is we’re all supporting the same people so why wouldn’t we work together and collaborate and provide a better value-for-money service,” he said.

Lismore Regional Mission chairman Alan Hoskins and Lismore Public School principal Martin Gill discussed their plans to expand their partnership.

“We have a program and that’s to help kids who are in need of support to get through the day,” Mr Gill said.

“As part of that, children check in ... on arrival in the morning and there’s always an option for those people to have something to eat at lunch time.

“We’re looking to develop that further with a partnership with the food pantry.”

The food pantry is open at the Uniting Church on Keen St from 9.30am to noon every Thursday.



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