The mobile program is operated by Fans Supporting Foodbanks (FSF) and is the first of its kind in the UK.
A new mobile community pantry service has been launched to tackle food poverty in Merseyside.
New pantry service to help the most vulnerable in the city
The site will be one of seven locations scattered across the city, which will be visited regularly in the coming weeks by the Fans Supporting Foodbanks mobile dining car.
The St. Mary’s Millennium Center, which is attached to St. Mary’s Church in the village of West Derby, was the site where the program was launched yesterday.
So far 431 households in Liverpool have signed up for the mobile pantry network. This will support 1,227 people – 480 of whom are children under the age of 16.
Ian Byrne, Member of Parliament for the Liverpool West Derby and co-founder of the FSF, said: “We have put the first mobile pantry into operation and I am delighted that it is located in the Millennium Centre at St Mary’s Church in West Derby.
At the official launch, the FSF’s new mobile dining car was unveiled, from which members of the new system can collect food.
“Now we have the great advantage of having a mobile dining car that will give a big boost to many people in the church and throughout the city”.
“I am very proud of where Fans Supporting Foodbanks has gone over the past five years. We collected food in a wheeled garbage can outside Anfield and Goodison Park.
Before the Covid 19 pandemic, FSF volunteers collected a ton of food per game from generous soccer fans before home games in Everton and Liverpool. Fundraising ran 233 consecutive games until the ban was lifted in March of this year.
Dave Kelly, co-founder of the FSF, said, “It was recently the fifth anniversary of fans supporting food banks, and the dependency and demands on food banks have increased by more than 130% since we started.
“Five years ago, food banks were mainly used by people on zero-hour contracts, in low-paid jobs, on minimum wages or with universal loans who use food banks.
“These people still use food banks and we will continue to help them, but now we see some food bank users who did not use or did not need food banks due to vacations and job losses, and their living conditions have changed.
“The idea of the mobile pantry is about tackling food insecurity, and we are doing something a little bit different than a food bank.
“The good thing about it is that we can go into communities where there are no supermarkets or choices and people can pick up food with high nutritional value.
“This pantry is the right way because it allows us to involve and strengthen local communities.