Street Pantry


Pantry inspired by street library concept helping people in need

A cupboard stocked with goods in Brisbane.

It's a simple sign on a small cupboard that has taken the street library concept and turned it into a pantry to help those less fortunate.

Located alongside a busy street in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm, the silver-shelved pantry holds goods such as noodles, canned soup, toothbrushes and feminine hygiene products.

Jacquie Schougaard, pantry organiser and Brunswick Hotel venue manager, said the idea came from her mother.

A small sign on a cupboard door.

"My mum saw a similar project happening in Ireland and mentioned it to me," she told ABC Radio Brisbane's Craig Zonca and Loretta Ryan.
A homeless person lies on a seat.

The project only started on Monday, yet the group has refilled the pantry twice.

"We have been blown away by the support of it and had so many donations come in for it," Ms Schougaard said.

"The community in New Farm is amazing and there's so many people who are excited to give, but there's also so many people that need it."

Giving without judgment
Ms Schougaard said although the suburb was considered affluent, there were people she saw who needed help.

"When I drive into work I see many rough sleepers ... I don't think people know what struggle looks like sometimes.

"It's not necessarily someone who's under the bridge, it's also someone living in community housing that can't afford a simple luxury."

A large Queensland style pub in Brisbane.

The pantry is situated on busy Brunswick Street, adjacent to the hotel, making it visible to those who need it.

"All our staff have been told if someone is taking something from there, the assumption is that they need it," Ms Schougaard.

"If something happens to the actual pantry, if it's vandalised or pulled down, then we'll put it back up again."

Keeping the pantry full

A pantry filled with food.

Although it's a new project, many residents have donated goods to keep the pantry well stocked.

"We had no idea how much this would mean to so many people," Ms Schougaard said.

"We've stocked the pantry with tins of soup, toothpaste, spaghetti and coffee, along with toiletry products.

The hotel's head chef also adds fresh fruit and vegetables when there are any to spare.

Ms Schougaard said she hoped the concept might resonate with others.

"I'm hoping that by carrying on this idea, others will start their own in other parts of Australia."

To hear more stories of the people that make Brisbane great, keep listening to ABC Radio Brisbane for Burbs The Word.

Street pantry and street library side-by-side.

ABC News