Pantry door al­ways open

Whangarei Report - - NEWS -

It is sec­ond na­ture for Lisa Richards to open her own cup­boards to help feed peo­ple in need and to­day she will throw the doors open on the Hiku­rangi Com­mu­nity Pantry.

The brightly painted, su­per­sized pantry will be a never-locked, “help your­self” fa­cil­ity in Hiku­rangi’s main street, lo­cated out­side the Guyco fac­tory.

The cup­board it­self was do­nated by Bun­nings Whanga¯ rei.

“The com­mu­nity pantry will op­er­ate 24/7 with the hopes and guide­lines of ‘give what you can, take what you need’,” Richards said.

She, helpers and busi­nesses who do­nated items stocked up on food and house­hold goods to put in the pantry for its open­ing.

The in­vi­ta­tion is out for oth­ers to drop off any­thing they can give at the site.

Richards said she hopes the pantry will fill up as fast as it emp­ties, and she also hopes peo­ple will re­spect the com­mu­nity fa­cil­ity as be­ing for peo­ple who need what it of­fers.

“There’s a lot of hunger and hard­ship around here,” she said.

De­spite some con­cerns raised by other helpers and com­mu­nity mem­bers, she made the call to have the pantry un­locked at all times.

“It’s about food be­ing avail­able, not polic­ing it,” she said.

“Peo­ple with noth­ing in their cup­boards and no money are just as likely to need food in the mid­dle of the night,” she said.

Thrilled with the help she’s had from in­di­vid­u­als, in­clud­ing her friend Joy White, Bun­nings, Guyco and other busi­nesses to get the pantry up and run­ning, Richards is also over the moon about the mu­ral Whanga¯ rei artist Ro­drigo Rozas painted on the pantry.

Richards, who is in­volved in Lovesoup, a group pro­vid­ing meals for home­less peo­ple, is also known for mak­ing hun­dreds of school lunches for Whanga¯ rei and Hiku­rangi chil­dren, in­spired by the hard­ship she faced when rais­ing her four chil­dren.

When a story on her ef­forts ap­peared in the Ad­vo­cate in April last year, she re­ceived lots sup­port and do­na­tions.

Now she is hop­ing the same gen­eros­ity will keep the Hiku­rangi pantry stocked up at all times.

The Hiku­rangi Com­mu­nity Pantry of­fi­cially opened on Mon­day.

PHOTO / TA­NIA WHYTE

Help­ing stock the Hiku­rangi Com­mu­nity Pantry are Darcy Smith, Bun­nings ac­tiv­ity of­fi­cer, and Lisa Richards.

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