THE West Somerset Food Cupboard's Local Pantry has celebrated its first year of operations this week (Monday, May 8).

Since 2007, the West Somerset Food Cupboard (WSFC) has been providing emergency food from the Parish Church of St Michael the Archangel in Alcombe.

Last year, the WSFC established the Local Pantry, a membership scheme formed through a partnership agreement with supermarket surplus charity, Fareshare South West and Somerset West and Taunton Council's Local Pantries Initiative.

Somerset County Gazette: Volunteers work tirelessly.Volunteers work tirelessly. (Image: West Somerset Food Cupboards)

Under the scheme, 40 members who live within 15 minutes of Alcombe are able to access fresh, chilled and non-perishable food that would otherwise go to waste.

Those that take part collect their food at an agreed time every week at a reduced price. They can do this for up to six months.

Volunteers at the Local Pantry meet every Tuesday to sort through the supermarket food, which is allocated into 40 portions which can be turned into family meals, costing only £3.50 a week.

It is thought that around 20,000 meals has been created because of the scheme and the hardworking volunteers.

Operations manager, Ali Sanderson, said: “We are so grateful to our volunteers for generously giving us their time to support the Local Pantry. They are all an absolute joy to work with, and we are so appreciative for their commitment, enthusiasm, and support. 

"Our volunteers allow us to provide this valuable service every week and here on our first birthday of the Local Pantry, I want to thank them for enabling us to reach this milestone.” 

Katrina Midgley, West Somerset Food Cupboard’s chairperson, added: “We are delighted to be able to celebrate our first birthday with our volunteers. In just one year, the team has grown from four to 46 people, including volunteers, staff and trustees.

"We’ve given out around 1,500 emergency food parcels in 2022 and now have 40 households who attend our weekly Local Pantry. Nobody in West Somerset needs to go hungry.”

Tea and cake was served to mark the occasion.

Somerset County Gazette: The charity celebrated with a cake.The charity celebrated with a cake. (Image: West Somerset Food Cupboard)

The pantry's celebration coincided with The Big Help Out scheme, which aimed to show the benefits of volunteering.

If you are interested in helping, the WSFC are recruiting for a voluntary treasurer to join its chair of trustees.

Email for more information.