Road works donates to Sammy’s Pantry

Sammy's Community Pantry with Pakenham MP Emma Vulin and Healesville-Kooweerup Road Upgrade project team members. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Healesville-Kooweerup Road Upgrade team is giving back to the Pakenham community, with a worksite raffle turning into a new fridge and freezer donated to Sammy’s Community Pantry.

Sammy’s Community Pantry is a free food bank established in 2019 by Larissa Damouni. She named the pantry in honour of her brother who sadly took his own life a few years prior.

The idea to donate to the pantry came from the Healesville-Kooweerup Road Upgrade project team, who started with on-site food drives, but soon turned into a workplace raffle with the goal of supporting the much-needed expansion of the pantry.

A series of workplace raffles took place, raising enough funds to buy a double door commercial fridge and freezer, with both units delivered to the pantry late last year. The team also made sure the new white goods would be put to good use immediately as they stacked the new fridge and freezer with plenty of fresh produce for everyone to enjoy.

Pakenham MP Emma Vulin supported the donation and praised Larissa and Sammy’s Pantry for their spirit of giving.

“A simple act of kindness and charity goes so far in our community, and it’s wonderful to have met Larissa who set up Sammy’s Community Pantry to support so many people throughout Pakenham,” Vulin said.

“It is wonderful to see our Healesville-Kooweerup Road Upgrade team work together to support this free food bank as Sammy’s Community Pantry will now be able to support even more people who are doing it tough.”

Larissa came up with the idea for a community pantry after a trip to the local supermarket and soon started the pantry by buying food items and offering them to anyone in need via local Facebook groups.

The pantry provides free tinned and packaged foods through the Giving It A Second Chance Op Shop. Marg, who runs the op shop, has established a corner dedicated to offering free tinned and packaged food such as rice, pasta, beans, noodles, biscuits and tinned tuna.

This has greatly improved the range of foods available to struggling families, boosting nutrition and providing more choice. Marg from the Giving It A Second Chance Op Shop is now in a great position to bring other partners on board, including local food retailers and factories.

Meanwhile workers on the road project are keen to make this community initiative a great success, leaving a lasting legacy for the community in Pakenham. If you would like to donate to Sammy’s Community Pantry or need their assistance, search for “Sammy’s Community Pantry” on Facebook or head into Giving it a Second Chance Op Shop at 6/114 Princes Highway, Pakenham.