Everton's Blue Base Pantry celebrates milestone

Gill Dolan (L) with pantry customer Barbara Turney
Gill Dolan (left) with pantry customer Barbara Turney [BBC]

A weekly project to tackle food poverty in the community has reached a major milestone.

Everton in the Community set up Blue Base Pantry in June 2022 with Fans Supporting Foodbanks, St Andrew's Community Network, and Your Local Pantry.

It provides people about 160 people with low-priced foods a week.

As the Blue Base Pantry held its 100th weekly session, one user said they would be "lost" without it.

Ryan O'Hanlon
Ryan O'Hanlon said pantry members are a "great community" [BBC]

Ryan O'Hanlon, who works at the pantry, said: "We've built up a great community and relationships with our pantry members."

Pantry user Kate Mahoney said the service was "very reasonable".

"Everything is really good, without it we'd be lost because it's a big help," she added.

Barbara Turney said the pantry is a "stop gap" for when food is needed.

"It helps with the cost of living crisis a lot. It is all in date, we get meat, bread, eggs it's just a big help.

She said it is "sad" that people are using such services "but it's got to be done".

"People who are working are struggling they can't survive on what they are getting."

'Huge problem'

Gill Dolan, a lifelong Everton supporter who has worked at the pantry since it opened in 2022, said she became involved after she retired.

"We try and keep it really upbeat, but the underlying message is these people are struggling to make ends meet, and in the 21st century it's really shocking," she said.

The service also includes benefits and housing advice as well as a swap shop for clothes.

Siobhan Kirk, who runs the clothes shop, said clothing poverty was "a huge problem".

"Having access to new clothes or clean clothes is an issue," she said.

"So being able to swap your clothes make a big difference for people.

"We do ask for them to be in good condition."

The initiative follows on from Everton's Blue Family campaign, which supported over 29,000 individuals and families with urgent support during the pandemic.

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