As a third lockdown hit the country, Hornsea’s food pantry opened the doors of their new premises to help struggling families in our area.
The Pantry will now operate from the former HSBC premises on the corner of Newbegin and Bank Street.
Christine Parkinson has been running the Pantry since 2019. Prior to the first lockdown this was open to the public once a week at Hornsea Town Hall. Christine supporting families with deliveries on other days. The service continued to operate during the pandemic from part of Christine’s home with appointments to ensure social distancing. Christine explained:
“It was desperately needed more then ever. Some of the situations people have found themselves in have been horrendous not qualifying for furlough or for grants. They have also been embarrassed as for the first time in their lives they’ve had to ask for food to feed their family. This is through no fault of their own.
“Few people realise how bad the situation has been for so many of our local residents. They are surprised when they realise how busy The Pantry is.”
How ‘The Pantry’ operates
Although The Pantry provides food support it is not a foodbank. The main difference being that users choose their own food. This is priced at five items for £2 well below the retail price. The food is predominantly purchased by The Pantry with all age groups in mind. The Pantry also receive end of date food from Tesco and Co-op. Christine collects this every evening at 8pm and is provided free to Pantry customers.
In addition to The Pantry Christine has also set up a community table just off Witty’s Passage. It has an eye kept on it from a distance. She explains: “This was a way to help people too shy to approach The Pantry. It quickly became a lifeline for so many. I’d refill the table each morning and restock where possible throughout the day. Many people added to it with different goods including from people’s allotments. A huge thank you to all who helped feed others less fortunate.”
As Christmas approached many families faced hard decisions about whether they buy toys or a turkey. Hornsea Pantry together with Hornsea Crisis Support ensured that many families had a Christmas meal. It was to help make it as special as possible. Members of the community also donated items from new toys to pajamas and boxes of mince pies, biscuits and crackers. Christine also purchased toys for families she had been supporting throughout the year.
The new premises in the former HSBC will enable The Pantry to add additional services including free activities for children. The Pantry is now open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9.30am to 10.30am. Anyone with a membership card can turn up and those without can come along and register. The Pantry is there to support families with children who are in receipt of Universal Credit as well as anyone impacted by Covid. Also those awaiting Universal Credit payments to be approved.
The Pantry is appealing for any donations of either in date food or grocery items. Money towards purchasing items as needed is also very welcome. Christine added: “The Pantry has supported so many extra families this year and our funds are running low. We had a full year fundraising planned which was abandoned due to the pandemic. To help make the most of the building we also urgently need help from tradespeople to paint the building exterior.”
The large high street building with many historical features has now been rearranged. All rooms are ready for use with a staff kitchen and toilets. The Hornsea Welcome Centre who operate the Hornsea Foodbank outlet have also rented space within the building.
Christine said: “thank you to the many people and businesses that have supported The Pantry to this point. These include Pam Curtis, Jacqui Morris, Angus Robinson, Rob Andrew, Keith and Lynda Twigg. Also organisations including Hornsea Rotary Club and Hornsea Lions and the many others who have provided support. Thank you also to Rosie and Andy Bullard for a grant application enabling The Pantry to purchase food needed to support more people during the pandemic.”