Clonmany Community Pantry – What is it?
Clonmany Community Pantry is an initiative that we are extraordinarily passionate about. The seeds of the pantry idea were first planted in 2018 when Clonmany Community Centre first became aware of FoodCloud – a national solution for food redistribution in Ireland. A partnership was soon established and we took our first step in a long term plan to tackle food waste, hunger and poverty in Inishowen. Staff at Clonmany Community Centre were further inspired by Change Makers Donegal who highlight the UN’s sustainable development goals and our vision expanded to include improving community health, well-being and the environment. We aim to connect people with nutritious food, helpful resources and with one another within our community.
Clonmany Community Pantry was officially launched in 2020 during the initial Covid-19 lockdown to ensure zero hunger in the community. FoodCloud connects us with local retailers with surplus food to ensure no good food goes to waste. Working in conjunction with FoodCloud, in the year of 2022 alone, Clonmany Community Pantry collected and redistributed over 16,000kg of food (the equivalent of approx. 38,000 meals) and has over 51,250kg of CO2 savings. FoodCloud have been so impressed by our Community Pantry that they recently invited our manager to make a presentation to the Board of Directors which was met with an overwhelmingly enthusiastic reaction.
This initiative is now naturally growing into something far beyond what we had ever imagined and what is most encouraging is that it is being developed by the community itself. Clonmany Community Pantry now reaches local farmers who make use of the vegetables beyond human consumption and in return they donate excess eggs and other produce; local pet owners take vegetables that farmers cannot use, such as lettuce and spinach for rabbits etc, and what is most inspiring is watching locals meeting up to swap seeds, plants or recipe ideas whilst sharing knowledge on how to grow, where to grow and how to look after vegetables and plants. This has now set the wheels in motion for a Community Garden so watch this space!
Become a Member!
The Community Pantry is not a project focusing on ones needs, but rather a project with a focus on food wastage, climate action, and it also offers more sustainable food choices for our community.
The Pantry operates on a membership basis with an annual registration fee of €15 to register with the pantry. When registering with a pantry membership each member is in turn agreeing to sign up to the ethos of Clonmany Community Pantry – Clonmany Community Pantry is about our people, maximum use of produce and protecting our planet. Each member will in return receive a community pantry hessian bag for life and a membership card. Membership to the
community pantry will allow a fill of your hessian pantry bag for €5.
This money is reinvested back in to the pantry which will help it to become a more sustainable project for our community. Your annual registration fee and weekly purchase fees will also help to cover the cost of collection of food items, pantry running costs and insurance.
Alongside Clonmany Community Pantry you will also find
Clonmany Community Library where we have a
‘Take a Book & Leave a Book or Borrow & Return’ system in place.
How can I help?
Donations to Clonmany Community Pantry are always welcome, so if you’re doing a big clear out please bear us in mind!
Clonmany Community Pantry is always looking for volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering simply fill in our volunteer application form and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Please note that we require all volunteers to undergo Garda Vetting.
- Financial donations: financial donations allow us to shop for pantry essentials that may not have arrived in a FoodCloud donation.
- Tins: tuna, salmon, meat, vegetables, beans, soup, rice pudding etc
- Jars/Bottles: jam, oil, condiments, pasta sauce, baby food, dilutants
- Packets: oats, pasta, noodles, rice, cereal, cup-a-soup, tea, coffee, sugar, confectionary.
- Personal Care Items: soap, toothpaste, feminine products, deodorant, toilet paper, baby wipes, nappies, shampoo & conditioner, shaving cream, individual toothbrushes etc
- Cleaning Supplies: sprays, laundry detergent, washing up liquid
Tips to Reduce Food Waste
Watch your Waste!
Make a list of what you throw out so you start to understand your habits and create a target for improvement. It sounds like a chore but do it once and you’re right on track!
Plan your meals around the food you’ve already got, check the cupboards, check your fridge, check our pantry and design your meals to tailor for your stock. Don’t be afraid to experiment with food swaps in recipes – websites like this one here are really helpful when swapping ingredients.
Store food properly to make the most of what you have – use leftovers for lunch, freeze extra portions, check the A-Z of Food to find advice on food storage. Cool your fridge! The fridge temperature should be lower than 5°C.
Learn your Labels!
‘Use by’ dates are about food safety – do not use any food or drink after the end of it’s ‘use by’ date. ‘Use by’ appears on chilled, fresh and perishable items, once opened follow the advice on packaging or freeze to extend its life.
‘Best before’ or ‘Best by’ dates are about quality not safety. When the date is passed it doesn’t mean that the food will be harmful. These dates appear on a wide range of frozen, dried, tinned and canned food items. Use your senses to assess if a ‘best before’ product is still good to eat – look and judge if it’s normal; smell it and see if there’s any change to the smell; taste it and see if it tastes as it’s supposed to.
‘Display until’ or ‘Sell by’ are indicators for stock rotations – ignore these dates as they have nothing to do with expiry.
What People Are Saying
“My partner and I are self employed and Clonmany Community Pantry has helped us hugely during the covid crisis especially with a teenager in University in the UK. It is a great initiative that not only supports our local community but also cares for future generations by reducing food waste. A visit to the pantry is great fun as we never know what we might get and results in our being more experimental with our home cooking. We are delighted to have this at our disposal and are always happy to donate to this wonderful cause.”