The Pantry is a food distribution service

The Pantry is a volunteer-run, community support programme, providing people with access to a wide range of food and essential supplies.

Generously supported by volunteers, friends, neighbours, local groups, stores, supermarkets, farmers and allotment growers – The Pantry is a project that brings the community together, enabling everyone to either seek or provide assistance.

The Pantry is an independent, membership-based organisation. Everyone is welcome.

Food distribution at The Pantry, Harlow

Become a member

Annual membership is just £5 per household

And, £2.50 each time you visit

Take what you need from a wide selection of food and essential supplies

About The Pantry

Originally started in 2016 as a solution to help reduce food waste, The Pantry has grown to become an important service for hundreds of families across Harlow.

We started collecting and sharing surplus food between friends and neighbours. Then, the pandemic hit, and we were suddenly overwhelmed with requests for help from people who were isolating, and unable to get groceries.

With an army of hardworking volunteers and generous donors, in 2020 we delivered 13,201 pre-packed boxes of food around Harlow, followed by another 11,791 in 2021.

Now, faced with the challenges of the financial crisis, we have evolved our service again, and developed the pantry format – a membership-based service which welcomes members every weekend to our central hub in Staple Tye, to pick up essential food and supplies they need. 

This new way of distributing supplies has enabled to us to reach more people with our limited resources,  and we now have over 620 members. 

How The Pantry Works

Where the food comes from

Each week we collect a wide selection of food, including fresh vegetables and salads, canned soups, beans, meat and fish, rice and pasta, all donated by stores, individuals, local groups and businesses from across the region.

We also visit our partner stores to pick up a large assortment of bread and cakes, as well as ‘yellow sticker’ items, or end-of-day produce, which is still fit for human consumption, but may otherwise go to waste. (Read our surplus food disclaimer)

Sometimes, if for example we’re short on vegetables, we also buy produce using money raised during our fundraising events.

How the food is distributed

The Pantry is open for two hours every Saturday and Sunday, for members to choose from a wide selection of available stock.

Operating as a membership-based service is enabling us to maintain our independent status, and offer our services to anyone who needs them. We charge a nominal annual membership fee of £5 per household, plus a per-visit fee of £2.50.

These charges, together with our additional fundraising activities, enable us to cover our overheads, maintain our professional hygiene certification, and expand our services.

A special thank you to our store partners

Join The Pantry

There is nothing to pay today

  1. Complete the form online, and pay when you make your first visit, or
  2. simply pop down at the times shown below, and complete the form at The Pantry.

The Pantry Membership Form

Location & Opening Times

Saturday: 2:45 to 4pm
Sunday: 12.45 to 2pm

The Play Barn, Great Pardon Community Association,
Staple Tye, Harlow, CM18 6YJ