A story of The People's Pantry in Market Weighton, by the Revd Caroline Pinchbeck, Vicar of Market Weighton, Sancton and Goodmanham:


The People’s Pantry in Market Weighton (and Pocklington) is part of the local Pantry network.

It is different from a food bank because ‘members’ pay a small fee for a set number of items. Those who are Pantry members say that they feel there is a greater integrity for them as they can contribute and choose what they would like.

The People’s Pantry was instigated in 2018, and before 'lockdown' they would have a regular membership of 50 people in Market Weighton. Since their inception, the Pantry has used the church building as a hub. With the immediacy of lockdown, their model required a radical change due to people needing to shield, and to include the extremely and clinically vulnerable. Added to this, was several their usual volunteers fell into the shielding category. This led to a 500% increase in people needing food supplies in just a few days. In tandem with this, was an increase in stock from the supermarkets, Local Authority and Government schemes as well. So, there was a huge, and dramatic need to adapt their systems overnight.

In the parish of Market Weighton, we were so pleased to be able to help in allowing the church building to continue to be the hub but enable extra spaces to be used so that food boxes could be stored, and boxes prepared. Pews do provide a very useful storage system which is an unexpected charism. We were able to use our networks for extra volunteers for leaflet and food box deliveries, as well as monitoring stocks as well. With the exceptional increase in demand, we were able to publicise the need for extra financial donations to which several large private donations were made to support their work.

A major highlight eight weeks into lockdown was one of the Pantry volunteers being nominated for the BBC One show “Big Thank you” award. Peter, the volunteer, is one testimony to generosity and graciousness of people coming forward to help those in need.

Though the Pantry’s work has plateaued for the moment, there is always the possibility of another increase in demand. As we have seen in many sectors, it has been those with an entrepreneurial spirit that have been able to adapt and evolve more effectively and sustainably to the demands imposed by Covid. We are so blessed to be able to be a part of this venture to serve our community - the Pantry working in and with our church community has shown that miracles can really happen.