Operation Punk Pantry serves up help in Torbay

Jess Gane from the Punk charity with daughters Tabitha and Olivia Photo:Contributed

Jess Gane from the Punk charity with daughters Tabitha and Olivia Photo:Contributed - Credit: Archant

An organisation originally set up to help needy families in the Bay has gone all Punk!

Punk Against Poverty began in January to provide short-term solutions to poverty related issues faced by local residents.

Ran by Jess Gane and Steffi Rox, its projects included working alongside other local organisation Re4orm to provide free school uniforms and starting a free youth club where children would get a full meal and the chance to socialise.

But the coronavirus crisis has meant a rapid change of focus for Punk and they put out an appeal for locals to offer a spot in their front gardens for a 'Punk Pantry'.

Inspired by the worldwide Little Free Pantry network, a Punk Pantry is a small cupboard, box or shelves stocked with food and household essentials that are free for anyone who needs them.

People are asked to take what they need and donate what they can with to reduce food waste, promote community spirit, help with food poverty and reduce travel and contact.

There are now 25 Punk Pantries across Torbay with more being added daily. The initiative has also inspired people to start their own Punk Pantries elsewhere in the county.

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Director Steffi Rox says: 'The support we have had from the community has been amazing. Businesses have been donating food, people have been building their own pantries and volunteering to help. We have had thank you messages coming in.'

She added, however: 'The need for food is still outstripping the amount of donations we get so we are always immensely grateful for any support.'

The group has also distributed activity kits to 200 children from local disadvantaged families.

To find your nearest Punk Pantry look on www.facebook.com/punkcic. The organisation is also trying to raise more funds. To help go to www.gofundme.com/punkpantry

Their sterling work has seen them being nominated in the Torbay Weekly 'Our Heroes' campaign which aims to recognise those helping others in the current crisis be they NHS front-line workers or a young child raising money with their pocket money. If you would like to nominate please send us the details at torbayweekly@archant.co.uk