Demand increases at Gwen’s Pantry

Content Image

Demand increases at Gwen’s Pantry

A food charity run by Edwardstown Baptist Church is busier than ever helping to support people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gwen’s Pantry is run by volunteers who meet twice a week to provide food for up to 100 people from a kitchen at St Marys.

The charity began 11 years ago and helps put together and distribute hampers using food purchased from Foodbank and donated by Second Bite, Ozharvest and Woolworths. Food packs include a range of staples, from cereals and cheese to fruit and vegetables, tinned food and eggs.

Volunteers also distribute bread to local schools that run breakfast programs for their students.

The charity’s namesake Gwen Spiero said demand had increased since COVID-19, particularly among international students who did not qualify for Jobseeker or Jobkeeper payments.

“The overseas students are really struggling because they have lost their part time jobs, they need to pay rent, and they might not have support from home,” she said. “People on Jobseeker are still coming to us because they are using the extra money to buy clothes and get in front with their bills.”

Gwen is one of a team of volunteers who helped establish the service, based at the Edwardstown Baptist Church off South Road.

Volunteer Sue Hoffmann joined eight months ago and says she loves being involved.

“It’s great to have a chat and get to know people,” she said. “The work that is done here is just fantastic for people, it is really making a difference in their lives.”

Pastor Patrick Gillespie said Gwen’s Pantry stayed open throughout the crisis despite losing many of its older volunteers, many of whom have since returned.

The Church is expanding its community services at the site and has launched a craft and morning tea group and a friendship club for people who are living with a disability or who need support.

“Our focus has shifted to creating a place where people who are disconnected or who need support can come and spend time, get out of the house, enjoy a cuppa, because social isolation is a real issue for many people.”

Gwen’s Pantry is open 10am to 12pm Tuesdays and 10am to 2pm Thursdays.

The Pantry is open to anyone in the community and new volunteers are welcome. To find out more contact Patrick at office@ebc.org.au or call 8276 1040.

Caption: Volunteers Gwen Spiero and Sue Hoffmann help distribute food to the community at Gwen’s Pantry, Edwardstown.