As the cost of living makes it harder than ever for singles, couples and families to make ends meet, food pantries across Canberra are working hard to help keep food on the table.

Food pantries provide free or low-cost food and essential items to anyone who is struggling to afford them, whether it be for the long-term or just for now.

To help increase awareness of this vital community service, the Communities at Work pantries took the time to share their story and experiences.

Communities at work have been operating food pantries for 12 years, these days, we operate two food pantries – one at Tuggeranong Greenway and the other at Gungahlin. We love seeing people walk away from our food pantry with smiles on their faces. Some people tell us they haven’t eaten in two days, so it’s pretty special to be able to help. Our pantry is supported by a great team of volunteers. Volunteers can assist in our pantries or with other tasks such as driving. Any level of commitment is helpful, even once every few weeks. We very much appreciate the help provided by our volunteers.
It can really depend on what’s made available to us each week. We receive supplies from Foodbank and OzHarvest, as well as donations from the general public. We seek to provide a range of fruit and vegetables, milk, eggs and bread, along with dry and tinned goods.
Anyone and everyone! We welcome people from all walks of life. Some live close by, others come from a long way away. We don’t ask for information when someone visits us – if they enter our pantry, they are welcome.
The rising cost of living means 10% of Canberra’s population now lives below the poverty line. We are welcoming more people than ever into our pantries, with numbers doubling in the past 18 months. Our visitors include single and double income families who have been hit hard by interest rate rises, and those who have used our services in the past and have found themselves needing a bit of help again. One visitor hadn’t been to our pantry since 2016, but the rising cost of living means she needs support once more.
A lot of people are facing food insecurity for the first time and therefore simply don’t know about us. They need help, but don’t know where to go or who to talk to. It’s also a challenge for people to admit they need help, which is understandable. Some visitors don’t speak English as their primary language, so that can be a barrier to overcome as well.
Food pantries aren’t just about the food – we are a community. People can come in, get to know others and enjoy a chat. We are a place to meet other people and socialise. We are also a safe place to spend time in.

We all need a little help sometimes. If you’re finding it difficult to feed yourself and / or your family, we encourage you to find your local food pantry now at interactive map.

Alternatively, you can find out more in person at the Community Info Hub, located at the Griffin Centre, 20 Genge Street, Canberra or call the Hub on 02 6248 7988.