Anglicare mobile community pantry at Wentworth Falls

From left, Michele Neilsen, Stan Stuski (Anglicare van driver), Sarah Fallon, Pip Howard, Warring Neilsen, and Elizabeth Molony.
From left, Michele Neilsen, Stan Stuski (Anglicare van driver), Sarah Fallon, Pip Howard, Warring Neilsen, and Elizabeth Molony.

A group of Blue Mountains volunteers has been busy keeping a food service running during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wentworth Falls Mobile Community Pantry has been running since the start of 2019. It is one of more than 50 mobile pantries operated by Anglicare Sydney across the Sydney and Illawarra regions, offering discounted groceries to anyone who visits.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Wentworth Falls was running the pantry alongside a cafe and op-shop. But since the pandemic, only the food pantry has been able to operate.

Warring Neilsen co-ordinates the volunteers at the church and knows first-hand of the need across the Blue Mountains.

"It's important we are there to help our community. We know many people are doing it tough. We want to provide hope and be that light on the hill for the Blue Mountains," he said.

About 30 people were using service regularly before COVID-19 struck, ranging in villages from Katoomba to Glenbrook. People only need to register to access the service; no questions are asked.

"If they're in need, the food is there for them," said Mr Neilsen.

Local volunteers are determined to keep serving at the pantry, even if the NSW government reimposes restrictions.

"We are taking every precaution to be COVID-Safe. We have hand sanitisers and practice social distancing. We want to make sure we're there helping people in need," said Mr Neilsen.

Wentworth Falls Anglican Church's Mobile Community Pantry operates every Friday fortnight from 9.30-10.30am. The next one will be held on Friday, July 24. Local volunteers are planning to reopen the op-shop on that day too.

Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Wentworth Falls is located at 17 Armstrong Street, Wentworth Falls. Call 4757 1516 or email office@holytrinityanglican.org.au.