St Paul's Anglican Church at Kogarah has found a way to make residents feel less lonely through something that warms all our hearts: food.
With more than 60 per cent of residents born overseas, many locals in Kogarah are recent immigrants without connections to the wider community.
The church is the latest hub for Anglicare's Mobile Community Pantry van, providing groceries at a low cost ($10 per bag) and an opportunity for locals to meet others in the neighbourhood.
Rev David Yung, Senior Minister at St Paul's, said the van had reached a number of parents who don't speak English as a first language but were keen to come along every time the pantry was on.
"One father just wanted to come and pay for a bag for someone else who was in need," Rev Yung said.
Rev Yung also explained that the pantry provides older people who felt isolation during COVID-19 and feared journeying to public spaces with a place to reconnect with the community.
"I hope that it can provide physical assistance to those in need. Furthermore, I hope that we can provide relationships and friendships in our community," he said.
The Mobile Community Pantry is run in partnership with local churches and visits each location on a fortnightly basis.
The pantry always has staples like cereal, pasta, long-life milk, pasta sauce and rice, and sometimes treats like confectionery, chips, biscuits and crackers.
The Anglicare Mobile Community Pantry team even does its best to provide culturally-specific food items, depending on the local area, such as Asian condiments or Indian spices.
Adam McCormick, a pantry volunteer, said the service - which has been visiting Kogarah since before Christmas - had become an outreach aid for the community, particularly older residents.
"It's not just about giving food; it's about talking to people as well," he told the Leader.
"A lady came and brought her husband last week and we had a chat, shared things that are going on in the area and their frustrations.
"We have quite a diverse range of cultures as well as large families doing it tough, people who are unemployed, and retirees."
St Paul's Anglican Church, Kogarah's Mobile Community Pantry, operates fortnightly on Thursdays at 2pm, with the next one being held on March 11 at 57 Princes Highway, Kogarah.
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