Wednesday, 13 October 2021

The Pantry at Tiber Square

Each Thursday since 14 May this year Tiber Square have been accommodating a food pantry organised by Fans Supporting Foodbanks – Spirit of Shankly. This event runs each Thursday from 10am-12noon. The event is run entirely by volunteers, two of whom are GTDT’s very own Caroline and Ruth.

Each week the pantry has helped between 80-110 people who turn up, hand in £3.50 and receive meat, fruit & veg and 10 tins all coming up to a minimum of £20. A lot of the time the customers are also given extra as a freebie to ensure everybody has enough to get them through the week. If someone turns up and cannot afford it they are also still given food as it is important that nobody goes without. At this moment in time there are over 250 members on the list who have been to the pantry at one point or another from when it started in May.

Of course at the beginning there were a few issues that needed to be worked out such as it was a first come first served basis and people would try and cut the queue, this issue was resolved by bringing in raffle tickets where when people come to queue up they are issued a ticket and therefore if someone is at the front of the queue without a ticket they will be handed one and sent to the back of the line to ensure that it is all fair.

There have been many visitors to the site, such as former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher, one of the main directors who helped set up the initiative in October 2015 and a cycling group called Red Indians who raised money for different charities by cycling from London to Liverpool, and from this fund raiser they gave £500 to the pantry to help with the cost of buying food.

The pantry being on Tiber Square brings so many people together and integrates many different cultures. The pantry is not discriminatory and they don’t put barriers in the way for people when they want to sign up. It is available to anybody who wants to apply no matter their circumstances or background.

Caroline, one of the volunteers at the pantry said, “I decided to volunteer at the pantry because I wanted to give back to the community and help wherever I can. I also thought that it would be a good idea to link my work with GTDT and the skills I have from there to the work I will be doing here. I have made many friends with the other volunteers and with people who come here to receive food, I have also heard some very sad stories from the customers relating to being isolated since the pandemic but knowing that coming to the pantry is an opportunity for them to get out of the house and see friends puts a smile on their faces. I really enjoy volunteering here and I am excited to see where the next few years with this project will take us.”