Food pantry advocates: Operations manager Bec Levett, job seeker Renee Cavell, Bendigo Bank Picton’s Tia Veech and founder Paula Zrilic. Picture: Anna WarrPaula Zrilicknows first-hand how hard putting food on the table can be.
After leaving an abusive relationship, she struggled to make ends meet for her children.
With this hardship now behind her, MsZrilicis determined to ensure no one else will go without food.
She started the community pantry at Community Links Wollondilly last year and it was an immediate success.
“It is amazing to hear people’sstories and it has been a thrill to see how far the pantry has expanded,”MsZrilicsaid.
“No one is above anyone else and no one looks down on anyone.I founded the pantry becauseI needed a service like itso I know the pantryneeds to remain human and dignified.”
The pantry provides affordable groceries, fresh fruit and vegetables, milk, bread,hygiene and sanitary products at a low cost to its members.
Bendigo Bank Picton has recently come on board and provided the food pantry with $5000 to buy another truck.
MsZrilicsaid with the addition of anothertruck, food could be collected from Foodbank NSW.The pantry’s existing truck could then be used to transport clients to the pantry fora shopping trip.
Bendigo Bank boardchairwoman Tia Veech said she had seen the pantry grow in the last six months.
“MsZrilicmade a proposal to the bank and the whole board agreed it was a good community service to support,” she said.
“The pantry members are amazing people. They are out there trying to rebuild their lives. It is inspiring.”
Ms Veech said she was pleased the bank could help with the purchase of a new truck.
The pantry service helps the homeless, families, women and children in crisis, youth in crisis, indigenous communities, elderly people, new arrivals and low income earners.
The pantry has 350 members.
The pantry also hosts demonstrations to show locals how to prepare and cook food. Members can have morning tea, a hand massage and listen to live music.
MsZrilicis encouraging membersto buy a family bundle meal for $10 which includes meat, vegetables, sauce and a recipe card so they can cook a nutritiousmeal.
Details: open every Tuesday10am-12.30pm atTahmoor Community Centre,4683 2776.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.