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Chance Changing Lives

Chance Changing Lives

Chance Changing Lives was the first community pantry to open in Cheshire back in October 2018.  As a membership community pantry, it offers access to food and non-food items once a week for 150 families as well as offering many other support services, such as counselling and debt advice.  

The Chair of Chance Trustees, Sandra Link, estimates that 30% of the families supported by Chance are in employment, but that their salaries have not kept pace with the soaring costs of food and fuel, as well as the rises in private rent.  

Food items in the pantry (which are largely donated from local bakeries and supermarkets) are set out on colour coded shelves, members pay £3.50 a week for which they can choose four red items, three green items, two blue and one yellow.  Yellow is the highest value band with ‘yellow’ products being priced at upwards of £3.50 in equivalent retail value.  

Sandra explains what this means for the members: “We estimate that items selected from the colour coded shelves will reach a minimum value of £18 in equivalent retail terms, usually much higher. As well as the ten colour coded items, members can then select from a wide range of donated food items – bread, pastries, cakes, fresh fruit and vegetables for their weekly shopping.” 

The Chance Changing Lives community pantry relies on In Kind Direct for essentials such as toilet roll, washing up liquid, laundry items, disinfectant, shampoo, body wash, nappies, baby wipes and tea bags.    

In months gone by Chance was grateful for significant personal donations of toiletries and food, but Sandra notes that since the start of the war in Ukraine, these have slowed down to the point where they are now very minimal – in her view, this is a direct consequence of cost-of-living increases squeezing everyone’s available household budgets, impacting their wherewithal for charitable donations.  

“We may have to have a cut-off point very soon as donations have slowed down to such an extent that there may soon not be enough to go round if we keep accepting new referrals as demand increases.”