Hamilton Pantry efforts boosted by local government support

Hamilton Pantry efforts boosted by local government support

The Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist Church Pantry has recently received funding from the City of Newcastle through the Boost Our City Community Sector Grant.

The local food relief charity supplies low-cost pantry staples, bread, meat, fruit, and vegetables to families in need. Over 50 families benefit each week from the volunteer-run service.

Pantry Coordinator, Teresa Clark, said the grant gives them the opportunity to continue supplying these much-needed items with the addition of storage, refrigeration, and transport equipment.

“We were very blessed to receive funding to go towards transportation and refrigeration needs,” she said.

“At this time food relief is really needed to help with those who are financially stressed and without the resources they may have had prior to the pandemic, and to continue to help those who are vulnerable.”

Due to COVID-19 related restrictions, the Pantry has changed their service from a weekly meal and self-service to pre-packed hampers given out in a courtyard, a drive-through service, and a home delivery option.

Pastor of Hamilton Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Justin Torossian, said that it was great to see the community and council work together for such a good cause.

“We are so grateful to be able to provide for the needs of the community here and for a city council that is willing to help us in doing so, especially during this time of COVID.”

Pantry guest Mark has a young family and lost his job due to the pandemic.

“All of a sudden you needed to make a small amount of money go a long way,” he said.

Local Councillor, Carol Duncan, says that the Boost Our City Grant was one of the first responses the city had to help people through COVID-19.

“The Boost Our City Grants were one of the city’s responses to try and help people through the pandemic,” she said.

“There are a lot of people who are finding getting through this awful time even more difficult than it was previously, so this pantry is essential, it’s the lifeblood that sustains a lot of people that come through here each week.”

Funding for transportation was urgently needed as the Pantry’s private transport funding donor lost income due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Australia.

This funding will allow the Pantry to gain access to a good quantity of fresh food and low-cost meat. The funding also provided for a bigger fridge to store more fresh food during the week to give out on service days.

“It has been a little more difficult to get adequate amounts of fresh produce during COVID, so being able to take what is offered during the week and storing it until service days is really helpful,” Teresa said.

The Hamilton Seventh-day Adventist Church Pantry have been functioning for over three years with over 100 volunteers supporting the charity over that period.

“We want to thank the City of Newcastle for the funding and we also need to thank Foodbank and Second Bite for their constant ongoing support,” Teresa concluded.

IMAGE | Pantry Coordinator, Teresa Clark and Newcastle Councillor, Carol Duncan (left-right).

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