In a decade, Moruya’s Pantry Club has grown from a tiny corner cupboard to a thriving food relief centre.
The service caters for an average of 150 people each week, providing low-cost food, personal care items and some little luxuries for those doing it tough.
However, Pantry Club offers more than just food, hosting a weekly community cafe during school terms and cooking demonstrations.
Yesterday, the Southern Care service celebrated 10 years of supporting the Eurobodalla Shire community, from Nelligen to Tilba.
Assistant manager Kylie Cursio-Young said the service was a safety net for families and individuals struggling to keep up with the growing cost of living.
Ms Cursio-Young said the most common issues facing Pantry Club clients were escaping domestic violence, finding affordable housing or covering overwhelming medical expenses as a patient or carer.
“The stories you hear around homelessness and domestic violence are really tragic,” she said.
“Another one is the elderly; for example, in situations where a partner dies or gets sick and they’re plummeted into a crisis.”
Sadly, she said financial hardship in the region had shown no sign of abating in her years with the service.
“It’s shocking how many people are sleeping in their cars, sleeping in caravan parks or have been living in a tent for months on end,” she said.
“When you see someone with little kids come in and they’ve been living in their car, that’s very hard.
“The housing situation in this area is atrocious. People cannot get accommodation.”
She said Pantry Club operated on a client-focused empowerment model, designed to give choice and provide a path to independence away from welfare.
During the school term, you can drop into a cafe from 10am to 1pm on Thursdays, or pick up low-cost food and essentials from Tuesday to Thursday, from 10am to 4pm.