A new initiative by the Inter-Church Council is aiming to make life a little easier for struggling Tumut residents.
The Tumut Community Pantry will provide packages of basic necessities for $5, and those who cannot afford that for whatever reason will not be turned away. Goods like rice, pasta, cereals, milk, tinned fruits and vegetables, and basic meals will be largely sourced through donations to the churches and through Coles, and passed onto the community at a low cost.
Reverend Liz Sloane, who is the Secretary of the program, said the idea is to provide welfare while protecting the dignity of those who need it.
“I’ve been involved in this sort of thing for a long time, and it seemed to me to be often a band aid. We used to give out parcels through the [New 2 U] shop, and it could be awkward and uncomfortable,” she said.
“With this, people will be able to pay a little for something that could last a few days, and of course we wouldn’t turn anyone away.
“It’s the community helping the community, and that’s the basis. That underpins everything.”
The pantry is opening on Friday November 18 from 10am – 1pm at the All Saints Hall, 6 – 8 River Street Tumut, and will open at the same time every Friday onwards.
Reverend Sloane said that it may expand into offering other services in the future, depending on need.
“The most important thing I feel is to start small, so that it’s manageable, and build on what we perceive to be the needs of the people. We do something manageable, and do it well, and build on that,” she said.
The pantry will be manned by supervisors from various denominations, who have all had working with children checks and police checks. The Inter-Church Council is made up of representatives from the Anglican, Community, Uniting, Seventh Day Adventist, Presbyterian, Baptist, and Catholic churches, and Reverend Sloane said it’s vital people realise the pantry is open to everyone.
“Hopefully people will see that we’re working together on this,” she said.