A “LIFELINE” Glasgow pantry has noticed a sharp rise in members since fuel and energy costs have gone up in recent months.

Around 300 new people have signed up to Pollok Pantry over the last few weeks, with some revealing to the staff and volunteers just how much they are struggling.

The community store, which first opened nearly a year ago, allows customers to purchase between 10 and 15 grocery items for just £2.50.

Manager Tracy Galligan, who is originally from the area, but now lives in Barrhead, has been involved since day one.

She works at the pantry along with five dedicated volunteers.

Glasgow Times: Pollok Pantry manager Tracy Galligan, second from left pictured with volunteers, from left - Grant McMillan, Tracy, Julia Allan and Darren MontgomeryPollok Pantry manager Tracy Galligan, second from left pictured with volunteers, from left - Grant McMillan, Tracy, Julia Allan and Darren Montgomery

The 52-year-old said: “I absolutely love working at the pantry, I’m very passionate about it. I call it my baby because I’ve been there since the very start. I stacked the first shelf and things like that. I love the customers as well, it’s really nice getting to know the locals.

“We’re up at 1000 active members now, so it’s really busy. There’s a big need for the pantry.

“Roughly, we have between 70-90 customers a day coming in.

“A lot of people come in and say they couldn’t do without it now, it’s a lifeline to them. That’s what a lot of people say, they tell us they don’t know what they’d do without us.”

Located on Brockburn Road, the pantry is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday between 10am-3pm and 10am-2pm every Saturday.

Members pay £1 per month and can shop up to four times a week. Free sanitary items are also provided.

Glasgow Times: Tracy pictured with what members can get for £2.50Tracy pictured with what members can get for £2.50

Tracy said: “We have members that work that can’t make ends meet. There is no criteria, so we don’t ask any questions and let everyone use it.

“Some of them need to use it four times a week because they have families. Coming in the four different times makes a difference to them because they’re getting a lot of variety.

“I had someone in the other day in tears, she said she had absolutely nothing. So, it was good to take her around and give her loads of shopping to do her.

“Another person came in after just being made redundant and they couldn’t believe it. They were absolutely devastated and said they didn’t know what they were going to do, they didn’t know how they were going to make ends meet. It’s really sad.”

Food stock is provided by FareShare due to the pantry paying the charity a yearly fee for the service.

This is then topped up by Tracy going out shopping for items with the takings made from members.

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Meanwhile, people, businesses and organisations in the local community also donate food and cash.

Due to being so busy, Tracy has found herself constantly stocking up.

She said: “We’ve seen a big increase since energy prices and petrol prices have gone up. I’d say we’ve had about 300 new members in the last two months.

“I’m restocking three times a week, but the pantry is very important for some people. It’s essential for them to be honest.

“The prices in supermarkets are just outrageous at the moment so people do need it.

“It makes such a difference to people’s lives. I love how it makes people happy when they leave the shop. I love the smile on their faces.

“It’s just amazing to watch them come in and get their shop and go ‘wow, that box of cereal is £3.50 in such and such supermarket’, and I’m like ‘yep’.

“They say, ‘I can’t believe I get all this for £2.50’. That’s what makes it all worthwhile for me.

“And that’s the type of reaction we get from lots of people who come in for the first time – they can’t believe it.”

The much-loved pantry was first born out of an idea during the coronavirus pandemic.

Andy Peline, a founding member of SWAMP, decided there was a need for it after the charity, along with others, set up community helpline G53Together to help locals during Covid-19, and thousands of emergency food parcels were being handed out.

Despite most restrictions now being lifted, the helpline is still helping Pollok residents in dozens of different ways.

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Tracy said: “Somebody will phone the helpline distressed and say they’ve no money and can’t put their heating on, and they’ve cancelled all their direct debits. They get the help they need and are then recommended to come to the pantry for their food.

“I was volunteering on the helpline before being asked to work in the pantry. I started off with 12 hours, and I’m up to 35 now but I love it.”

Pollok Pantry, which costs just £1 a month to become a member, is always looking for cash and food donations from anyone who is able to help.

For more information, get in touch via the “Pollok Pantry” Facebook page, or visit the store at 25-27 Brockburn Road during the opening times mentioned above.