The Mobile Community Pantry (MCP) began at Oak Flats Anglican in February this year. It is a collaboration with Anglicare to provide low-cost groceries to those who need it most. And judging by the response it is a service that is being well received by the community.
Every fortnight, on a Thursday, a van from the MCP arrives at the church loaded with top quality groceries, that for some reason the major supermarket chains want off their shelves. This food can be sold to those who come to the church. Each individual is able to choose how to fill up a bag or two from the van. The cost is $10 a bag but the value is well in excess of $60. This represents a massive saving for those who come, but also offers them the opportunity to pay for the goods – and people really seem to like the way this works.
An encouraging side to this is that local businesses have started to donate items that can be taken for free too. Also one of the church members is also cooking home-made meals to take away!
As a church which has experienced the love of Jesus for us, we are really interested in showing love to our community who need an extra hand to purchase food essentials. However we want to do much more than that. The strength of this program is not just the low cost groceries but the community that people are invited into on a Thursday morning. People are warmly invited in by a whole team of volunteers who offer tea, coffee, home made food, and best of all, a warm and friendly conversation.
The MCP is an easy way for our church to show the love of Jesus, in the same way Jesus did to those who were in need when he walked on Earth. And yet Jesus never left his actions of love alone.
They were always accompanied with an explanation of the thing that people needed most: it is the spiritual needs of Oak Flats we really want to help people with, and we pray that as we get to know those who come along, we will be able to hold out the Eternal food that God offers us in Jesus.