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I'm sure you've heard of the wonderful initiative whereby surplus food is being redirected by generous large supermarkets, small independent retailers, farmers, and community members alike, to provide low cost, affordable and sometimes free food to various community organisations that help people in need.
This practice not only reduces perfectly good food from becoming landfill, but also provides community members with sustainable, more affordable choices when it comes to grocery shopping.
Here, at the Sapphire Community Pantry, you'll find it's one such place that provides more than just food at the lowest prices possible. They offer homemade meals, tea & coffee, along with and a vibrant, friendly space, where volunteers and community members come together.
Some typical misconceptions people may make when hearing about 'the pantry' is that you need to be homeless, or going through financially challenging times to shop here. In fact, just this week, I've heard a single mother of four say "I've never been there because I'd feel like I'm not needy enough." Along with another person who said "I wouldn't feel right shopping there because it would take food away from others less fortunate." Despite this person themselves being affected by COVID job losses and housing affordability.
Everyone is welcome and encouraged to shop at the Sapphire Community Pantry, regardless of their financial situation. There is no judgment or criteria in place to shop here. In fact, shopping here helps support the great community work they do.
If you would like to get even more involved with this not-for-profit organisation, you can become one of the many team members by volunteering a few spare hours a week. Donating money, homegrown fruit & veg, or even some groceries from your kitchen cupboard. Every little bit helps!
What can you expect to find at the pantry? You'll find a wide variety of free bread, rescued free, and low-cost fruit and veg. On the shelves, there is a wide array of snack foods and drinks. Everyday basic staples such as cereals, tea/coffee, milk, eggs, tinned food, baking products, laundry detergent, personal care items, and lots of various items that come in randomly each day. There's always plenty to choose from and enough for all.
Best of all, you'll be warmly greeted by the army of volunteers who love donating their time there.
If you're in the Bega Valley, you'll also find the Sapphire Community Pantry mobile pantry at Cobargo on the 1st Wednesday of the month from 12-2 pm. Bemboka on the 2nd Sunday of the month 11 am-1 pm, and at Quaama on the 3rd Sunday of the month 12-2 pm.
For more info, you can check the Sapphire Community Pantry website here.