Wellington Food Pantry busier than ever

Wellington Food Pantry director Stephen Colman and volunteer Jan Lear report more than double the people are using service since it opened in June last year, with a lot of new faces in recent months. Photo: Sarah Luke

Sarah Luke

AS the state is plunged into a fourth lockdown — this time without the support of JobKeeper or JobSeeker payments — Wellington Food Pantry is reminding local residents there is some relief available.
The pantry supplies local families and individuals in need of essential grocery basics via a shop front at 6 Mark Avenue, just off Dawson St, in Sale.
Director Stephen Colman said the pantry offered those doing it tough basic pantry items, frozen goods, cooked meals, salads, soups and bread.
Mr Coleman said after the government’s coronavirus supplement payments wrapped up on March 31, a lot of new faces had walked through the doors.
“Even the last couple of months, it’s really increased with new people — I reckon over double from what we were getting,” he said.
“We were getting a lot of regulars, but since they took that money away, there’s been just so much.
“We try to supply about five to six meals every time you come here.
“There are a lot of people who come here regularly and I tell them to come here before they go shopping … it helps.”
The pantry, which opened in June last year, relies on donations from local businesses, and food relief organisations Foodbank Australia, FareShare and SecondBite.
Stephen and his partner also frequently don their chef’s hats, with Stephen’s spinach and feta soup proving a tried and tested favourite.
“Most of the veggies — I get about five crates — get turned into soup,” he said.
Wellington Food Pantry is open Mondays and Tuesdays from 9.30am until 12.30pm, and on Wednesdays from 9.30am until 3pm.
Those doing it tough who would like to access food relief just need to prove they live in Wellington Shire, and hold a Health Care, Pensioner or Seniors Concession Card.
The pantry accepts donations, with Stephen saying milk, pasta and baked beans were extremely popular staples.
The pantry is also in need of volunteers, and those interested in helping out can drop in and chat with the team.