ALL Saints Church in Biddenden has received £2,500 from Kent Community Foundation for their Community Take Away Pantry.
The Parish Church Council of All Saints in Biddenden, applied to Kent Community Foundation for funding to support their Take Away Pantry, based in their small rural community, to help support those who are struggling and hungry.
The Take Away Pantry opened in September 2022 and was initially met with surprise from some parishioners that something like this would be needed in their community. The Pantry, open every day and staffed on Thursday and Saturday mornings, soon became a vital resource. All Saints applied to Kent Community Foundation for a grant to keep the shelves replenished.
Elizabeth Shapiro, from the Parish Church Council of All Saints in Biddenden said:
“The Take Away Pantry was initially introduced into the community with no financial funding. We stocked our shelves with donations from local people. Through word of mouth, the use of the Take Away Pantry has rapidly increased. In particular, demand is ‘quick family meals’ and basics like rice and pasta, as well as toiletries, nappies and other non-food items needed for babies and toddlers as these are infrequently donated and instead need to be purchased. The need has simply outstripped what we could supply, as we give away hundreds of items every month.
“When we started the Take Away Pantry, some people in the village told us that it would be unnecessary, that ‘no one is hungry here!’ However, we have sadly found that there are indeed many who are struggling and hungry within our small rural community. As the months have gone by and the cost of living has risen, we have seen an increase in the number of items taken from our porch table and many people come into the church to select bags of groceries. We have made cups of coffee for them and heard the stories about their struggles: extended hospital stays for their children, decreased mobility for their parents, rising heating bills and salaries that can’t cope with any of these hardships.”
Natalie Smith, Director of Grants and Impact and Deputy Chief Executive, of Kent Community Foundation said:
“The Take Away Pantry allows the Church to support sections of the community with the food they need and makes their lives a little easier in a practical and dignified way, without lengthy and time-consuming forms or hoops to jump through. Their application told us that if anyone needed some food, whether their struggles were long-term or they were encountering a sudden need for help they are invited to come and take a bag full of provisions without judgment. This is such a heartwarming approach that we were delighted to fund the initiative to support struggling and hungry families.”
To contact Kent Community Foundation about funding for charities and community groups call 01303 814500, email firstname.lastname@example.org: or visit www.kentcf.org.uk/funding.