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Securing disaster recovery grant: Elanora’s food pantry

Elanora Uniting Church secured a Disaster Recovery Grant from the Synod to aid their food pantry initiative, ensuring access to food for those in need.

Over a year ago, the congregation observed the struggle of many individuals in the area to meet their financial needs, prompting them to establish an outlet providing groceries at significantly reduced prices.

Andrew Koczanowski, a member of the Church Council and treasurer for both the food pantry and Cooinda, the church cafe. He said the grant was allocated to produce 500 $10 vouchers, redeemable through the pantry.

“The Gold Coast is experiencing growth, and rent as well as food costs are rising significantly,” he said. “We offer food at heavily subsidised prices, and people can use vouchers for essentials such as pasta and rice.”

The vouchers were distributed among the congregation, church elders, and local schools to give to those in need.

Mr. Koczanowski mentioned that the decision to apply for the grant came about following a discussion with Vanessa Griffiths, the Synod Fundraising Support Manager.

“We’re all learning how to craft grant applications, and Vanessa played a crucial role in that,” he said. “To her credit, the grant was swiftly processed.” 

The congregation currently stocks non-perishable items but aims to submit a grant application to help fund the purchase of a commercial fridge and freezer for the pantry.

Mr. Koczanowski noted that feedback from elderly recipients indicates a shift away from cooking, preferring food that requires minimal or no preparation.

“We need a freezer section for storing frozen meals and microwaveable food,” he said. “Additionally, we aim to provide essentials like bread, milk, and butter. From a disaster recovery standpoint, our goal is to offer food assistance to anyone in a way that meets their needs.”

More information on the Community Food Pantry is available here: https://elanorauniting.com.au/a-community-food-pantry/

For help and more information on grants and grant applications, contact Synod Fundraising Support Manager Vanessa Griffiths at vanessa.griffiths@ucaqld.com.au

Another article featuring an outreach program from Eleanora Uniting Church can be read here: https://journeyonline.com.au/features/from-blocks-to-beauty-the-heart-of-woodworking-thrives-at-elanoras-community-collective/

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