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Meet Margaret McGrath - Westfield Local Heroes 2021

Feeding and clothing her neighbourhood

Ngunnawal Street Pantries
Selfless. Community-minded. Driven

Margaret McGrath has inspired a street pantry movement in Ngunnawal that people have accessed on more than 60,000 occasions since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, struck by the plight of local battlers doing it tough during the pandemic, Margaret set up the first Ngunnawal Street Pantry by placing a tub of free food beside her mailbox.

Eighteen months later, there are four pantries in the Gungahlin suburb. They offer free food, toys, clothing, blankets and toiletries donated by the community to those in need. They are open every day with no questions asked.

For Margaret, who self-funds the initiative, caring for her community is a no-brainer.

“My philosophy on life is that if I can make even one person’s walk easier, then my life has been well lived and successful,” Margaret says.

The initiative also bolsters community spirit by providing safe and non-judgmental spaces for locals from all walks of life to connect.

“To be nominated as a Westfield Local Hero is a huge honour, as I see the Ngunnawal Street Pantries as belonging not to me, but to the whole community,” Margaret says. “I hope I can inspire more people to consider how they can help the community they live in.”

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Ngunnawal Street Pantry will use its funds to buy perishables, $10 grocery vouchers and cover operating costs.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here

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