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Community pantry caters for hundreds of households

Published on:

28 May 2020

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Enfield Council’s Community Pantry has catered for more than 1,250 households in its first month and more groups are encouraged to come forward to make use of the facility.

Enfield Council’s Community Pantry has catered for more than 1,250 households in its first month and more groups are encouraged to come forward to make use of the facility.

Fresh food, larder staples and ingredients are all on offer to groups and charities who are helping get meals to isolated and vulnerable people and to help cater for Enfield’s diverse communities.

Enfield Council’s Leader, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, said: “Food plays a very important role in giving comfort and a touch of happy nostalgia during difficult times. The Community Pantry provides two very important functions. Firstly, the very active groups of volunteers and charities are best placed to identify those in need, who may be extremely vulnerable. Secondly, these groups provide an important social connection for people, even with distancing measures in place.”

The Community Pantry is currently working with six groups – ECYPS- Children and Young Persons’ Services , St Monica’s Church in Palmers Green, Together Our Community Survives (TOCS), Nene Tereza, the Nigerian Catholic Community based at St Edmund’s Church in Edmonton and Bright Future Foundation.

The food is sourced by The Felix Project and donated by Enfield organisations. Volunteers from Enfield Town’s Metro Bank are coordinating the distribution of goods alongside Enfield Council officers. All groups are provided advice from Enfield Council’s health and safety team and food is distributed within social distancing guidelines. Each group has the same aim of helping the isolated and uniting communities.

TOCS, the local African-Caribbean response to the COVID-19 pandemic is coordinated by registered charity Enfield Caribbean Association and Street Watch Edmonton. It already has an established local presence through their respective community support and street patrols in Enfield. Now, through the joint project they are providing over 150 elderly people with weekly food parcels, including hot meals, as well as offering befriending telephone support.

Oveta Mcinnis, the Chair of the Enfield Caribbean Association, commented: "This is a time when we have come together in collaboration to support our African Caribbean elders and most vulnerable. The community response has been tremendous. Our volunteers are giving their time freely to ensure that needs are met. We have also received fantastic support from local green grocers, shops and Enfield Council.”

Streetwatch spokesperson and TOCS project manager, Dionne John, said: “There is a pressing need to support increased food deliveries by raising funds to purchase groceries and PPE supplies, so we can continue to make a difference.” While the pantry provides a number of food staples, there are produce that are harder to source or where market forces have made items too expensive. As a result, TOCS is crowdfunding for support and looking for volunteers to help pick up the food parcels and deliver to homes in Enfield. To find out more email tocsenfield@gmail.com or call 07915 919 524.

ECYPS runs a food-bank from its base at The Ark on Montagu Road, providing food parcels to approximately 200 people. It has also been working closely with Rev Tina Kelsey from St Peter’s Church Edmonton who also refers families to its emergency food programme and has organised the donations of toys and clothes. ECYPS is well known in the borough for the work it does to provide advice and support to voluntary and community organisations working with children and young people.

Spokesperson for EYCPS, Hamida Ali, said: “Most of our staff live in Enfield and therefore are able to identify people who are vulnerable and in need. Our dedicated volunteers have gone beyond their responsibility and helping out the community in these challenging times.”

For more information and to refer vulnerable people to the emergency food programme, please contact the team at infoecyps@gmail.com.