Chandelle coordinates Open Pantry.

Over the past year, the rising cost of living has created problems for many Australian households. The impact of this is felt acutely in areas such as Western Sydney, where price rises can exacerbate existing hardships including difficulties accessing and affording groceries, petrol, heating at home and more.

Open Pantry in Blackett, Mount Druitt, has provided low cost, fresh food to the community for years. Recently, when it looked like Open Pantry may be forced to shut its doors, Jesuit Social Services was asked to step in to keep it running.

Monique Perusco, Manager of our Western Sydney programs, said the importance of Open Pantry to the local community meant that it was essential to keep the store running.

“The Blackett community has been serviced by Open Pantry for a long time and the loss of this critical service would have been terrible.”

When it reopens soon, Open Pantry will offer hampers of food and household items, nutritious, pre-prepared meals, and hopefully, a café and community space.

The decision to take over Open Pantry strengthens Jesuit Social Services’ existing food security work in Western Sydney. Existing programs in the area include the Ignite Food Store, and Currawong Kitchen, which provides healthy school lunches at two schools.

“There are fewer resources out here. There’s not an abundance of affordable stores, and that means people’s access to food is very limited.

"We don’t want to just operate a pantry. We want to operate something that is a part of the community."

Monique Perusco

Manager, Western Sydney programs

“Open Pantry is a fantastic place and we are really excited to have a community space where we invite people in. But we don’t want to just operate a pantry. We want to operate something that is a part of the community.

“In doing that, we’ll invite people in and have bigger conversations. We’ll offer coffee and friendship, and we will keep talking to people about the support they want,” said Monique.

The addition of Open Pantry to our work in Western Sydney means we have more ways to make an impact and support more people in the community.

Donate to Jesuit Social Services to help us continue to support the Western Sydney community.