Log In

Reset Password

Community cupboard calls for give and take

by Sophie Rishworth

A community pantry will work only if people take what they need, and people bring what they have in surplus.

But it is worth a shot if it helps struggling people and families, says organiser Gabrielle Tamihana.

This is food cupboard No.1 for Gisborne, with another community pantry scheduled to open in Kaiti next week.

This one opened yesterday in Elgin — a large shelving unit stocked full of donated items.

Ms Tamihana saw a story about an Auckland suburb doing the same thing and knew people here needed help too.

She remembers her mum raising her and five siblings on her own.

“We struggled a lot and having something like this around would have been great. Today people are still struggling and it is 2018.”

The food is free and comes with no strings attached, she said.

But everyone is realistic. The only way this community-driven project will succeed is if it is community-patrolled as well.

Jazz Barnett helps with Feed Tairawhiti and mentored Ms Tamihana on how to contribute to community change.

Mrs Barnett sourced the shelves from a second-hand shop and upcycled them.

The shelves have no door so this is also a request for any builder who could pop doors on, she says.

PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE: these community members want to make sure no one goes hungry. It does not matter if you are shy; there are no strings attached to this community food pantry, which started in Elgin yesterday. Take what you need and bring what you have in excess. Helping make a difference are (from left) Dione Lagaluga, Jazz Barnett, Gabrielle Tamihana, Marianne Patene and Marama West. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell
Give and take at community pantry: Facility organiser Gabrielle Tamihana with community-constructed and supported shelves full of donated food, on the side of the road in Elgin. It’s a community cupboard initiative for people to help people . . . and no strings attached. There are already bags of fruit, cans, and packets of food and breakfast items on the shelf. People are welcome to take what they need. Those with extra items in their cupboards are encouraged to put it in this neighbourhood pantry. “Because it’s 2018 and people should not be going hungry”, says Ms Tamihana. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell