Today, Anna too says she feels a real sense of achievement in the way the first Pantries fostered a community togetherness, and at the way it has grown further than anyone could have imagined.
“Each of them has a very different personality and audience,” she says.
“The number of people who have joined, is quite astonishing – how it has grown! Initially, we thought it would help people save money, but it has done a lot more than that.
“Pantries have always charged, because we knew we had to be self-sustaining, and we wanted it to be somewhere without stigma associated. People knew they were paying their way, and we made it clear that money was going back into the Pantry.
“It’s incredible how it has grown from that first Pantry. I still keep in touch with Fiona, who also worked on the Pantries, and we say when we’ve seen where the latest Pantry is.
“We are still very invested in it and feel overjoyed by it. It’s a nice legacy to look back on. From small, humble beginnings and a small impact with 100 members, it is still supporting people.”
That figure, the number of people who have enjoyed the fruits of Pantry membership has risen rapidly from that initial 100.
Today, more than 33,000 people are benefiting, and over the past ten years the total is more than 90,000. More and more communities have seen what Pantries can do for their neighbourhoods – and what neighbourhoods can do for each other.