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Family pantry an added extra for Traralgon children

Goodstart centres

“Take what you need, give when you can” is the philosophy behind Goodstart Traralgon Conway Court’s new community pantry.

Designed to help out families who attend the early learning centre, the pantry is stocked with staples including packets of pasta, cans of vegetables, soup and sauces. There is also stock, flour and even breakfast cereal.

Centre director Nathan Brown said he supplied the pantry with surplus from the food budget with about $200 in total. The Ikea shelving was $300 and the decorations on top were loose kitchen supplies which cost about $1 each.

Every Wednesday, Coles donate fresh fruit, vegetables and bread to the pantry. Children from the centre go on excursions to local supermarkets, where they have a budget of $20 to buy supplies.

“We were really keen to help out families and encourage cooking and healthy options. Hopefully this will allow parents to grab something from the pantry at the end of the day and use it to create a nice dinner,” Mr Brown said.

“We have a lot of working families here and they’re working long days so this will potentially encourage less convenience food for the children.”

He said families were encouraged to take what they needed, and then bring in some staples such as flour and pasta when they could.

“Where they can parents donate what they have, or when doing their shopping, they buy two for one offers and donate one to the pantry.”

Feedback so far had been positive, with many families saying it was just another reason why they liked attending Goodstart Early Learning.

“We’ve had a family come to us because they saw our post about this on Facebook,” Mr Brown said. “So it’s really worthwhile and a great way for us to interact with families and the community.

“Because Goodstart is a not for profit organisation I feel like we’re doing our bit to help out the community.”

The team has now expanded the idea to include a “coffee shop” with a coffee machine, pods, milk and takeaway cups for families to grab a coffee on the go. The coffee shop is supported by a gold coin donation.

They are now planning on approaching big supermarkets to support the project further.
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