Paula’s Extraordinary Work
Our Community Pantry Bargo is an amazing initiative started by Paula Zrilic in 2017, providing affordable groceries and meals to the local community, whilst addressing food wastage.
“We began in 2017 in Tahmoor, before moving to Bargo this year. After seeing that there was a need for food that was affordable for families and individuals and a way of obtaining food that was often wasted and used as landfill, I started Our Community Pantry Bargo” said Paula Zrilic.
Our Community Pantry Bargo is opened on Tuesday mornings from 10:00am till 1:00pm and provides a wide range of discounted grocery items, as well as frozen meals which cost $6 for vegetarian or $10 for non-vegetarian. Free fruit and vegetables are also available.
“The Pantry is open to anyone. You don’t require a health care card to purchase our products. If you can’t make it here on Tuesdays, we have a click and collect option where we list the food we have left online each week that you can collect later that day” explained Paula.
The local service has grown dramatically, since opening in Bargo this year. There are currently 30 hard working volunteers who help at the Pantry, which often has up to 180 customers visiting in the three hours that it’s opened each Tuesday. With demand at a high, they plan on opening more sites soon as well as launching evening sessions. Warragamba has been included as a potential future site.
This year, the Pantry also introduced ‘Pay-It-Forward’, where people can pay $10 for a meal and put it on a wall for someone to take up in times of need. Paula said that this system has been embraced by the local community, who want to help, “In our first week, 21 Pay-It-Forward bundles were purchased, and during Tuesdays shopping session, 12 Pay-It-Forward bundles were provided to families in need. It’s a wonderful incentive!”
“For many people, the simple act of sitting at a table and eating food with your family can help bring some normality. It’s a measure of doing well. You’re no longer in survival mode, it’s recovery. Helping provide these opportunities is important” ended Paula.
If you’d like to help Our Community Pantry Bargo, they invite you to shop with them. You can purchase a meal for the Pay-It-Forward wall for those in need or just come and get involved. This will help to keep the initiative sustainable. Due to Food Handling and Safety requirements, they choose not to accept food donations from the public.
For more information, visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pantryWHC. They are located at 223 Great Southern Road in Bargo.