Food Pantry model may be the way forward for low income families

MCKS Charitable Food Pantry in Basingstoke provides a unique shopping experience for low income families, the vulnerable and homeless in a friendly environment.

The pantry model recognises that food poverty for some families is an ongoing struggle and pre-packed food parcels do not always suit all families so the pantry provides a supermarket type experience for its members where they pay £3.50 a week and receive approx. £20-£30 worth of food, with fruit/veg and sanitary supplies always free.

“There is a dignity in paying and we hope that we can continue to help as many families by growing our pantry network through our schools initiative and by opening more pantries” Les Flitcroft, Founder of MCKS Charitable Foundation UK & Ireland.

Since opening in mid-August the pantry has 45 members including the homeless, those on probation and families struggling to make ends meet each month and in addition has provided 100 food parcels, and is receiving more and more requests daily. The Covid crisis has left many people without food shelter and just today we had a chef through the doors who was previously working in a 4 star hotel with a career ahead of him and now he is sofa surfing and came to us for food and toiletries. With furlough coming to an end and many businesses still not at pre-covid trading levels we expect our numbers to increase.

The pantry also provides secondary schools across the country with toiletries and food deliveries. “We initially contacted a few schools to provide assistance with sanitary supplies but we were hearing stories of children who hadn’t brushed their teeth in years or who didn’t have access to basics such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and shower gel so we now send out weekly shops to the schools we have set up relationships with and are hoping to increase our network of school pantry cupboards over the next year”. Les Flitcroft

“Whilst we are grateful for all the donations we receive we realize that we need to increase our efforts as we get more and more requests for help, so we are looking for corporate companies to get involved with our schools initiative and help us to fund raise on a much bigger scale”. Mandy Khaira, Co-Founder