James Collins: St Paul's Anglican Church Parish Pantry
For James, giving is largely about the dignity of the recipient
The $10,000 Westfield Local Heroes grant has enabled the church to purchase food for the Parish Pantry and have allowed for the expansion of the goods that can be offered to our clientele as we use try to meet their needs as we have an exponential growth in the numbers accessing services we provide.
It has also help support the Community Hubs and enabled bi-monthly meetings. Whilst other funds have been reserved for the purchase of a small shed which will free up more room in the pantry.
When people say James Collins is always there for those in need, they’re not exaggerating.
He’s available 24 hours a day to provide counselling and support, often working 20 hours across a range of charitable projects run out of St Paul’s Anglican Church.
A renowned part of this is Parish Pantry, which provides free food to those who need it.
It began out of an office, but as more people came to the church for help, an expansion was necessary.
“We could no longer fit, so we got a shed,” says James.
“We fitted it out like a minimart to give people autonomy. Now it’s gone from a little supermarket to more like a café. We’re about to branch out to coffee and soups.”
The project is not just about providing food but giving people a sense of dignity and belonging.
“People have to swallow their pride coming to this. We treat them with love and respect,” says James.
“I’ve made it very clear with donations of food and clothing: don’t give anything you wouldn’t eat or wear, or I’ll throw it out.”
James also helped set up the Lifejacket program to secure donations of winter clothing for those sleeping rough, which has now expanded to source torches, sleeping bags and toiletries.
His other endeavours include visits to residents of aged care homes who may be socially isolated, organises a free toddler-care program with a focus on helping single mothers and runs a free musical concert program at the church that is open to all.
“We run on what God and people provide, so I’m very grateful for this gift. It will help us expand in quantity and in style,” says James.
“We give away twice our income to help the poor, which is not good economics. This grant is a godsend.”
‘The Westfield Local Heroes Program has improved awareness of our work greatly. It has helped in communication to a wider audience. Both for those in need and we’ve also seen a large increase in volunteers’
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.