The facilities are the latest efforts to help residents in the town living on the breadline. Ashton Pantry in St Thomas’ Church Hall and St Nathaniel’s Food Pantry in the Platt Bridge church building of the same name started offering low-cost goods to residents last month.
Residents can visit the Ashton pantry four days a week while the one at St Nathaniel’s is currently open on Thursday mornings.
Food pantries offer cash-strapped residents the chance to pick up fresh produce for low prices, with most of them having an annual membership cost and then having an amount that is handed over each visit in return for a set number of items
Church Wigan’s own figures showed that the two new pantries between them fed around 285 families in their first month of operation. The more established Tom’s Pantry, meanwhile, sees on average more than 40 people coming to collect food each time it opens.
Ashton Pantry is receiving deliveries from Fur Clemt and also intercepts food from sources including local warehouses, supermarkets and fast-food outlets.
Church Wigan assures residents that while this food may be close to its best-before date or beyond it in some cases it is perfectly edible, with pantries never issuing food past its use-by date.
Ashton Pantry is run on a pay-as-you-feel basis, although there is an annual membership subscription of just £5 and the facility asks for a contribution of £3 per visit towards the running costs. There is a similar cost structure at St Nathaniel’s, with customers able to take up to 20 items per visit.
Ashton Pantry is open on Tuesdays between 11am and noon, Thursdays from 3pm to 4pm, Saturdays from 11am to noon and Sundays from 3pm until 4pm.
St Nathaniel’s Food Pantry is open on Thursdays from 9am until noon.