Village to get weekly food pantry after gas outages highlighted 'numerous vulnerable people'

Two support members outside Ratby Library
Members of a support team during the outages outside Ratby Library, where a new pantry will be located -Credit:Feed The Hungry

A mobile food pantry will stop at a Leicestershire village affected by gas outages after the incident highlighted “numerous vulnerable people in the community”. The pantry, run by Feed The Hungry UK, now stops at Ratby Library every Wednesday between 2-4pm.

Ozzy O’Shea, county councillor for Groby and Ratby, said gas outages in the village in January that left thousands without means to cook food and heat their homes “identified” residents that were struggling in the area. He said he “jumped” at the opportunity to try to provide a regular food pantry to the village.

When the outages led to a major incident being declared by the Leicestershire Resilience Forum, Feed The Hungry provided residents with emergency food parcels over two evenings at Ratby Medical Centre. Canon Gavin Kibble MBE, projects director at Feed the Hungry, which has bases in Hinckley and Coventry, said: “Ratby demonstrates that many small communities are struggling to make ends meet, yet accessing cheaper supermarkets by car or bus is costly and often beyond the means of many local residents”.

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The mobile community pantry
The mobile community pantry in Ratby -Credit:Feed The Hungry

“Poverty in rural communities is a largely forgotten issue, but our mobile pantry is the perfect solution. It is well stocked and can offer people struggling with finance a lifeline of support in terms of food and support systems [such as advice and welfare support].”

The village is now home to one of seven pantries in the region run by Feed The Hungry UK. As well as wraparound support, the pantries provide food from across all food groups including store cupboard essentials and chilled, frozen and fresh fruit and vegetables.

A selection of cleaning products and toiletries are also available for a small additional charge. Cllr O’Shea said: “Ratby is a wonderful village with a truly remarkable community spirit but this incident showed that all communities have pockets of poverty and as such I am pleased and grateful that Feed the Hungry are hosting a much-needed food pantry on a Wednesday afternoons.”

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