Community support for those struggling

Cr Dickson with Eaton Park Community Group members.

Another community on the Sunshine Coast is opening its arms – and pantries – to help those in need.

Extending a helping hand to people in crisis, Sunshine Coast Council and the Eaton Park Community Group have worked together to install a food pantry and free community library at Eaton Park, Sippy Downs.

Sunshine Coast Council Division 6 Councillor Christian Dickson said it was uplifting how the Sippy Downs community continued to support and care for one another.

“Community pantries and libraries are great community-led initiatives, and I understand that this is important for the local Sippy Downs community,” Cr Dickson said.

“We had received requests from the Eaton Park Community Group for a combined food pantry and library unit and I was more than happy to invest $10,000 back into the community for this.

“Food pantries ensure that vulnerable individuals have access to nourishing food.

“They help families in crisis and are a great way to build connections within the community, making communities stronger and providing a way for people to help one another.

“With the cost of living increasing, I know the pressures on families and people living in our communities can become too much.

“This food pantry is open for anyone who needs a helping hand; no need to ask, just come and take what you need, knowing your community has your back.

“I love the community library also, as a way for books to be freely shared.

“They are publicly accessible, and people can simply reach in and take what interests them.

“I’m proud we were able to work together to provide this important resource for the community surrounding Eaton Park.

“It will bring the community together and help build a special neighbourhood connection and spirit of service.

“We are also working with the community to develop artwork for the cabinet, and our community is looking at developing the design.

“This is another fantastic example of how we are working with our community to build a better future for everyone.”

Eaton Park Community Group member Kira Simmons, was among those pleased to work with Council to support her local community.

“So many families in Sippy Downs are struggling and too frequently I see posts of desperation around having to choose between buying food or paying rent,” Mrs Simmons said.

“If this local pantry can make someone’s life easier, its purpose is fulfilled.

“A few families in our neighbourhood have been getting together for years to think about service, community building and how to raise children with strong morals.

“Our community group has also started a small community garden and it has really started to bring the neighbourhood together, and I think we will see something similar with the local pantry and library.

“While consulting with Sunshine Coast Council about expanding the community garden, we also raised the question whether a local pantry/library could be installed at Eaton Park and Council has been absolutely supportive.

“Any initiatives that bring people together and assist each other in tough times, are not only important, but essential.

“If anyone would like to join a group of people building a vibrant neighbourhood, closer community connections and service, we have regular community garden meetings and you can find information on our Facebook page ‘Eaton Park community garden’.”

How it works

The Eaton Park community pantry and library, located on the corner of Eaton Street and Magellan Crescent, will be open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Sunshine Coast Council constructed and installed the community pantry and library cabinet for the community.

Eaton Park Community Group will manage the pantry and library, ensuring the cabinet and contents are appropriate and clean.

The unit has been robustly constructed to provide protection from the weather and is easily accessible. The sealed cabinet is fabricated to be UV protected with sunshields that have panels that heat up and draw cool air continuously up to the top, cooling the interior of the cabinet.

It is located close to the future community garden and existing car park, on the existing path network.

Council has installed the unit on a trial basis of six months and looks forward to the free pantry and library’s success.

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