A foodbank for everyone

Pam's Pantry is based at Ponders End United Reformed Church and is led by Melanie Smith, pictured left
Pam’s Pantry is based at Ponders End United Reformed Church and is led by Melanie Smith, pictured left

Olivia Devereux-Evans talks to the founder of Enfield’s newest foodbank

Melanie Smith and her husband Mark Meatcher are church members in Ponders End who helped to provide free school meals over the Christmas period, in partnership with Enfield Council.

While members felt the partnership was good, they wanted to help the community in other ways and, as a result, decided to create a foodbank.

Melanie told the Dispatch there was a great need for another foodbank in the area. “It is really tough,” she said. “People have not got enough money to feed themselves well.

“Even though there should be food for children on free school meals, there are still parents that are struggling. Debt is a big problem and people have lost their jobs.”

Melanie explained that many people using foodbanks rely on a voucher system. This means users need to be referred from a public service to access a foodbank. However, people do not always know where to get referrals from and they can find it difficult.

Pam’s Pantry opened in January and Melanie hopes to tackle the problem of referrals by welcoming anyone and everyone who needs help. The foodbank is named after a much-loved elderly parishioner who died of Covid-19, aged 94.

Support has come from many other local Enfield groups, including Zebras Children and Adults Charity and Enfield Neighbourhood Watch. Pam’s Pantry also operates as part of a network called Enfield Food Alliance, set up in conjunction with the council and other groups such as North Enfield Food Bank. It ensures all of the donated food is shared out between the groups, so no food is wasted.

Melanie praised the community spirit which has appeared as a result of the pandemic and said: “The food network is across secular and religious groups. The co-operation is now stronger than ever. It has brought us together.”

The foodbank opens on Tuesday mornings between 10am and 12pm, welcoming everyone. Fresh food, rice and pasta is available alongside toiletries. Donations needed include rice, cooking oil, long-life milk and low-sugar squash.

Pam’s Pantry is based at Ponders End URC in College Court Road. For more information:
Visit facebook.com/PamsPantryPondersEnd