Food pantry offering a helping hand has challenges of its own

Donations to the Llanrumney project are being hit by the cost-of-living crisis

A FOOD pantry in Llanrumney playing a vital role in helping to combat the cost-of-living crisis is facing financial challenges of its own.

Rising food costs are affecting the amount of items being donated.

“Like any charity project, we are at a constant battle with overheads and staying viable for our members,” said Cat Pargeter, community engagement manager for the pantry.

“The cost-of-living crisis is affecting communities faster than we have ever seen before, and consequently it has had a knock-on effect.”

“For example we are seeing supermarkets reducing their surplus which effects stock for the pantry, meaning we can give less to the community.”

“Losing the pantry would be catastrophic in my eyes,” said said Lynne Dando, a regular user of the pantry.

“If the pantry were to go, I think criminal behaviour would increase, as I think when people are desperate they do desperate things. A lot of children would go hungry as well as everyone else.”

Llanrumney Food Pantry, which opened in October 2020, offers a more affordable shopping experience for its members.

The pantry has about 500 members most of whom joined for £7 a week but free membership is available to those most in need.

Anyone can become a member as long as they live in the Llanrumney area. Every Thursday users are given the chance to choose 10 items that can be worth between £25 to £35.

The pantry is led by a large group of volunteers whose hard work and dedication helps to keep the project going.

“The pantry is volunteer led whilst being supported by the hall. Without our volunteers, the pantry would not be able to run,” said Mrs Pargeter.

“It’s amazing that this is run by volunteers,” added Mrs Dando.

“Time is very precious, and they have done this for their love of the community. They are the superstars that see and chat to people who are sometimes desperate and at their lowest.”

The pantry is located in Llanrumney Hall.

The group created the pantry during the Covid pandemic.

“It was so important during Covid as people were having problems getting food deliveries and prices started going up everywhere,” said Mrs Dando.

“Stocks were low on shops’ shelves, but the pantry had the essentials.”

Fast forward two years and the pantry is still continuing to help those most in need.

“I know that a lot of people in the community rely on the pantry to be able to eat,” said Mrs Dando.

“Personally I can’t afford not to use it, as we would be very hungry without it. It’s better than a food bank as you get to choose what food you want.”

As well as offering a more affordable alternative to the weekly shop, the pantry has also become a place for people to socialise.

“The pantry is very important to our community as not only is it helping people with their potential financial struggles, but also many people have gained friendships and enjoy the social aspect,” said Mrs Pargeter.

“I get to chat to other people in similar situations to myself or worse, so you get a better idea of the people living around you,” added Mrs Dando.

“I have found comfort and learned so much more about my community through using the pantry. By talking to people we tend to solve each others’ problems or are provided with good advice as well as a cwtch when needed.”

Despite recent challenges, the pantry continues to offer vital support to those most in need, aided by the generosity of others.

Since opening in 2020, the pantry has received over £16,000 in donations, and in November last year, it received a £2,000 grant from Cardiff Council as part of its Food Poverty Programme.

“We often rely on donations, both monetary and item donations, to upkeep the stock that we can offer our members,” said Mrs Pargeter.

“Schools, churches, local businesses, and even individuals have been fantastic for donating food items to us and we have some regular donors on our online donation platform as well.”

The pantry is based in Llanrumney Hall, a grade II listed building dating back to the 15th century.

The hall’s rich history has seen it used as a state home, a pub, and even as a remand home for children.

The building is also steeped in mystery, with local rumours suggesting that it was the birthplace of the infamous 17th century pirate Sir Henry Morgan as well as the burial site of Llewellyn Ap Gruffydd, the last true Prince of Wales.

The hall is under the management of the Llanrumney Hall Community Trust Limited group, which took over the running of the hall in 2015 with the aim of regenerating it into a multi-purpose community hub.

  • Anyone interested in becoming a member of the pantry can register here. If you wish to donate any items click here.