Launched within ten days from conception to doors opening the [email protected] started by providing free emergency food parcels to residents in need across the Benarty area of Fife. The initiative was set up at BRAG’s site in Crosshill and jointly funded by The National Lottery Community Fund through Awards for All , Benarty Community Forum, Fife Council, Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Foundation Scotland and the Scottish Government’s Response, Recovery and Resilience Fund. The pantry also received help from several local businesses including Baynes the Bakers, Benarty Carpets and Flooring and Scotstar Resin Flooring who all stepped in to assist in the set up or supply of food. The [email protected] also benefited from the street collection by Benarty Fundraisers where supplies were shared between the pantry and the foodbank. It is also important not to forget the fantastic Muffin Man who is a tenant of BRAG’s at Crosshill and has helped to make ready meals and recipe kits for pantry members to make at home. One year on and another of BRAG’s tenant businesses MaryAnn’s Kitchen has also come on board recently agreeing to provide weekly food for the pantry members.
There is an increasing need for community led food initiatives just like this as an estimated 8.4 million people are living in food poverty across the United Kingdom today. The pantry model offers a community led approach – run by volunteers and works on a weekly membership basis. For a small fee (approx. £2 -£3 per week) members can have their choice of affordable food from the pantry provided by the charity Fare Share along with donations from other local suppliers.
Hannah Kinnaird, Pantry Co-Ordinator was appointed later last summer and has helped us extent the scope of the offer. The [email protected] now has a growing membership and a team of 14 local volunteers to help in the day to day running of the service. This great approach of a community working together to reduce food waste and tackle food poverty has had a huge impact.
In the past year the [email protected] has served 5217 adults, 1986 children and provided an impressive 42,523 meals to the Benarty community.
BRAG MD Brian Robertson- Fern said “At the outset of the COVID-19 crisis BRAG’s Levenmouth teams stepped in to help Fife Voluntary Action and Fife Council with their Coronavirus emergency response, delivering food parcels to those in need in the Levenmouth area. During this time of assisting The People’s Pantry in Leven the team were inspired by the emergency response but were also impressed with the ongoing pantry initiative that had been launched back in 2018. Boasting 200 regular members with an additional waiting list the team soon realised that the Benarty area would also benefit greatly from creating a similar model and initiatedsetting one up in its hometown. Yet again, Benarty people have responded fantastically both as volunteers and as users and the impact is clear for all to see. My thanks go out to everyone that has helped to make this happen.”