t was in 1984 that Bill Summers who worked in the Registry at Victoria University and as a marriage celebrant, approached the Porirua Anglican Vicar the Reverend Jonathon Boyes (pictured in 2020) suggesting the Lord had told him to donate food for the people of Porirua. Bill and his wife Marjorie were members of the Khandallah Presbyterian Church and had earlier approached Presbyterian ministers in Porirua who were unresponsive to their suggestion.
Jonathon’s response was to form the Porirua Anglican Co-operative Trust (PACT). Pat Higham assisted with administration and Jean Stratford was involved from the beginning using her practical skills. A garden was started where the unemployed could grow food. In 1985 20 families were receiving food parcels in the Ranui area and churches from Otaki to Khandallah quickly caught the vision and were supportive providing food and financial donations. Jonathan remembers pumpkins and cabbages came from Otaki and 5 cords of wood were dropped off at the Vicarage in Cannons Creek and wheelbarrowed to many destinations.
Jonathon’s ministry ended Christmas 1886 and the Pantry continued under the new Vicar Michael Watson. In 1989 PACT was re-titled St Anne’s Pantry with Jean Stratford continuing as Facilitator until her death in 2005. During her watch the volume of requests fluctuated but there was no sign of them abating. During 2001, 3,000 people received food through 800 parcels - an average of 16 per week.
During the last 15 years the Pantry has continued with the facilitation of various people including Diane Stuart (with husband Bob) and Val Grace who retired in 2019. This year Sofia Ali and Margaret Alve lead the Pantry operation.
The Pantry continues to receive referrals from Porirua Citizens Advice Bureau. This year requests via a Parish website form has increased awareness and accessibility for people who are needful of food support. During 2020 with Covid-19 requests for Pantry food parcels have increased significantly.
The Khandallah Presbyterian Church (among many others) continues to support the Pantry as it did in the beginning back in 1984.
[This articles first appeared in the Sept-Oct 2020 St Anne's Pantry Update Newsletter]
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