In September 2021 we launched the new Merthyr Tydfil Community Pantry from the Wellbeing Centre. After the pandemic it was clear that people still needed access to high quality, low cost food. We secured funding to transition from an emergency response situation to a pantry model. With these funds we purchased shelving, fridges and freezers and increased our storage capacity.
The concept of the pantry is that members choose their own produce much like a usual shop experience, enabling customers to access subsidized food whilst expressing their own preferences.
Membership is open to everyone in Merthyr Tydfil but there is clear focus on providing healthy, fresh food to households who have suffered a loss in income or are experiencing hardship. We have a rolling reserve list and as members’ circumstances improve they leave the pantry to make way for new households. This is a self-selecting and deselecting process that works well.
We only charge members for the pantry items which are a mixture of tinned, frozen, and ambient items that we receive from Fare share. The pantry is also stocked with toiletries and cleaning products from In Kind. All fruit, vegetables, bread and period products are given for free.
The pantry is open two days a week for 47 weeks of the year. We have developed our own model, charging £ 3.50 membership for 4 hearts (higher value) and 6 diamonds (lower value items). Once a month we have a non-members’ pantry where anyone can come and have a bag of items for £2. We also provide emergency food and toiletries for anyone in need.
If you would like to join the Community Pantry, live in Merthyr Tydfil and are not a member of another pantry, please contact us. We are always looking for new sources of product for the pantry, if you know of any where we can access surplus stock, we’d love to hear from you. And we are always looking for volunteers !