Bulls Food Pantry a boon for the needy






Bulls Food Pantry is a food rescue service that operates from St James’ Presbyterian Hall. It offers free food to its community, with everyone welcome, and operates during school terms from 3.30pm to 4pm on Fridays. The idea for the Bulls Food Pantry was born from the first lockdown in 2020, when it was discovered there were wha¯nau from Bulls who were regularly using the Marton Food Pantry. This was putting extra pressure on the Marton pantry and highlighted the need for an operation closer to home. The Bulls community came together, and it was decided to try to create a service outside traditional foodbanks that was available to all wha¯ nau. After reaching out to St James, they hit the ground running and haven’t looked back. The church has been extremely supportive of the pantry’s work and continues to provide help when needed. Bonnie Ellery, the community development manager at Bulls and Community District Trust, credits many individuals and organisations with the success they have had. “Kelly Widdowson from Marton Food Pantry has been our lifesaver, she has taught us that while there may not be much food there is always enough to go around. She connected us with Just Zilch early on in our journey and we have been consistently able to provide food to an average of 20 households a week.” Ellery says they receive support from too many Bulls businesses to name, as well as Just Zilch and individuals who drop off fresh fruit and vegetables. Even local schools have been helping, running mufti days and collecting non-perishable food to donate. Ellery says it’s an incredible feeling being well supported by the community, and they are grateful for all of it. Bulls Food Pantry has followed the kaupapa of other organisations like Just Zilch, Marton Food Pantry and Te Pataka Kai 4412 in offering a noquestions-asked service. It has 14 volunteers who rotate shifts fortnightly, with volunteer tasks ranging from setting up the hall, packing down, doing a Just Zilch run, rotating and marking stock, and leading the team for the day. Follow the pantry on Facebook. To donate goods or volunteer email bullsfoodpantry@gmail.com. Environment Network Manawatu¯ is a hub for about 60 enviro groups, working in areas ranging from sustainable living to wildlife conservation. Find it on Facebook or visit enm.org.nz.