A COMMUNITY pantry may be forced to shut some days as the cost of living crisis continues.
Art House Cafe on Above Bart Street first opened its pantry during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The cafe’s mission is to end food poverty and help anyone who is struggling to make ends meet.
Open three times a week, the pantry offers fresh food, non-perishable items, toiletries, and other essentials.
While it is mostly run by volunteers, it does employ some paid staff.
But just like other businesses, Art House pantry is also feeling the pinch of the cost of living crisis.
Cafe director Jani Franck said the cost of food, electricity, and delivery has gone up and “everything is just more expensive”.
To cope with rising costs, the pantry is looking to cut its opening days.
READ MORE: New cost of living support scheme launched in Southampton
Jani said: “The past few months have been really rough.
“We are open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays but now we may have to drop Thursday, which is really hard because what if someone comes to the cafe and we are closed?
“When people come to us, we don’t ask their names, or take pictures, we don’t make it conditional.
“We believe food is a human right and no one should be hungry.”
Over the years, the cafe has helped feed people from all walks of life.
People who use the pantry can pick anything they want and pay whatever they can.
The proceeds from sales and donations go towards the cafe’s operating costs.
READ MORE: Daily Echo’s Put in a Pound campaign aims to fight poverty
To try to keep the pantry open, the cafe is now turning to the public for help.
“If someone can donate something, then that’s great because it helps us cover our costs,” said Jani.
The cafe receives surplus food directly from supermarkets and wholesalers.
People are encouraged to donate unopened toiletries and sanitary products.
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