Our Mobile Community Food Pantry started as an idea back in 2021 as work began in establishing a network of Community Food Pantries across St Helens Borough. In late 2021 The Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities were looking to fund faith-based organisations and partnerships that could deliver a project that supported Covid-19 recovery and responding to local needs and there we had it, our call to action! Bringing affordable food to the heart of our communities.
Led by the Focus Together multi-faith network that is chaired by Mission in The Economy (MiTE) and supported by Halton & St Helens Voluntary and Community Action (VCA) who leads on co-ordinating the St Helens Borough Community Food Providers Alliance along with a whole range of partners and agencies giving their endorsement and support we set about submitting our bid which was one of only 14 successful applications from across England.
Fast forward to January 2023 and we now have a refitted van, 2 members of staff, organisations that have provided us with storage space and are working hard building relationships with local food suppliers.
The mobile pantry is a franchise of the Your Local Pantry model and so operates as an affordable food club model meaning individuals accessing the pantry will pay a weekly membership fee in return for choosing a set amount of available food that typically will be worth three to four times the membership fee, and here is the best bit – Anyone can join!