While preventing the spread of COVID-19 has disrupted many services, Bowral Uniting Church are continuing with their community pantry—with an altered format that accommodates the need for social distancing.
Lucy Earl is Mission Development Worker for Illawarra Presbytery. She told Insights that the pantry remains open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10am to 1pm.
“We have needed to alter the way people pick up their food, so we now serve people through an outside door, so that they don’t need to come in to the building and can follow social distancing guidelines from outside,” Ms Earl said.
As well as non-perishable goods, the pantry offers fruit, vegetables, and bread, thanks to the support of OzHarvest.
“Local supermarkets and businesses have been very supportive,” Ms Earl said.
“We are seeing a lot of people coming to the pantry for the first time in the past couple of weeks. Most of these people have lost their jobs in local businesses and are now struggling.”
“We are also delivering some boxes of food to people’s homes as needed. This has been a wonderful thing to be able to do for people who are needing to self-isolate because of age or their health.”
“We are so thankful that we have been able to continue to support and serve our local community in these ways. For the past seven years we have held a free community lunch each Wednesday.”
“While we aren’t able to eat together at the moment we are offering take away lunches and frozen meals to people on a Wednesday still, as well as a cup of coffee or tea to take away. It is a blessing to be able to offer these small points of connection.”