Food pantries provide low-cost and free food and other household items to their local community. Yet food relief is just part of the picture.

These welcoming hubs also provide vital social support; a place where people from all walks of life can come together as a community to share understanding, knowledge and support.

A shining example is Holy Cross Tuckerbox (HCT) Food Pantry.

13 years ago, it was clear there was a desperate need in our community for a food relief service. This led to Holy Cross founding a co-op style food pantry where everyone is welcome without judgement. We try to offer the basics to get someone through the week, such as rice, pasta, fruit and vegetables, some meat items, nuts, toiletries, and sanitary items, as well as nappies, formula and baby wipes if needed. We get supplies from Foodbank NSW & ACT, OZharvest, Second Bite and sometimes we also buy fruit and vegetables, and other grocery items. We can’t always guarantee supply, but we do our best! We are staffed by friendly volunteers. Our oldest is 85! We always need volunteers, even just a few hours a week to help with running the pantry and supporting the community.
There’s no set demographic. We welcome everyone from refugees to asylum seekers, people on government benefits, workers, people experiencing homelessness, students, families, and anyone who is having a difficult time. We aren’t just for low-income earners – we also help workers who just can’t make ends meet. We see many double income families that are struggling. We have one family where both parents are employed, and the father works two jobs, yet it’s still not enough to afford the rent and other essentials. We help to fill the gaps.
To shop at the pantry we have membership that costs $2 a year, but anyone can become a member regardless of income and circumstances. Even if you aren’t a member, just come and have a chat! We enjoy seeing people from all walks of life. Living in Canberra can be very expensive and it is especially difficult to be a single person in this community. People are skimping on food because they’ve had to pay their utility bills. We see people from all walks of life.
Some people think that by visiting us, they are taking away from other people, which is incorrect. Anyone in need is worthy. People are also worried about being looked down on. But food pantries are all about dignity and there is no judgement. Anyone can find themselves in need of help. We are here to provide regular support, or as a temporary fix. We once had someone who relied upon our services. Later, after having got back on their feet, they returned to donate money to the pantry. It was their way to give back the help they received in their time of need. There have been other people who have done similar things, just wanting to say ‘thanks”.
Our pantry means so much more to people than just food. It’s a place of connection, somewhere to sit down with a coffee or tea and chat. It’s very inclusive. We get to know people over time and it’s become a really colourful place to be. Everyone needs a support network and we’re here to help. We may not have the answer to everything, but if you need food or connection, we are a great first step.

Holy Cross Tuckerbox is a place of community, connection, and understanding. 

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.