A social supermarket & # 39; is open for a week of shopping for just £ 3 for Britons struggling to feed themselves and their families. The food, worth between £ 15 and £ 35 as a basket of goods, is donated to The Community Pantry by major retailers, including Marks & Spencer and Morrisons. The supermarket in Crewe, Cheshire, helps those who are struggling financially to put food on their tables and serves so many people that it has had to open an extra day.

The head of Operation Community Pantry Natasha Maroni is depicted with an example basket with goods in the social supermarket & # 39; in Crewe, Cheshire

The supermarket in Crewe helps those who struggle financially to put food on their tables. A woman who visited was so desperate that she ate dog biscuits, while another woman had to rely on instant mashed potatoes to feed her children. The Community Pantry has 34 members with 81 children in between, who pay £ 3 per week for a basket of donated food – with ten items. It is currently open on Mondays and Saturdays, but will also open on Friday from the end of January due to high demand. Darren Bratherton, 40, of Crewe, said he heard of the project from friends after a back injury meant that he had to give up work. The father of five said: "I had worked in breweries, cafes and the odd little gardening but my back went and that had me without work. I had a hard time. I had just returned to the area and stopped my allowance for employment support. I had no payment for four weeks and then I came here.

An example basket with goods for which someone pays only £ 3 for the social supermarket

It is currently open on Mondays and Saturdays, but also opens on Friday from late January & # 39; It was so encouraging to be here. I usually come once a week on a Saturday and get my meals for a week. Usually I get coffee, ready-to-eat meals that I can put in the microwave, some cookies. & # 39; This week is the spag Bolognese. I come here with others and we cook a meal that will last us long instead of cooking one.

Darren Bratherton, 40, from Crewe, said he heard from friends about the project after a back injury meant he had to give up work. It was a Godsenddonatie because otherwise you just borrowed, friends and family borrowed who themselves do not have much. & # 39; You feel terrible that you can not give it back to them. Here I pay £ 3 for £ 20 of food. You can not get that anywhere else. & # 39; There is a real sense of community. You spend about half an hour shopping and helping others with their baskets. I do not know where I would be without. • Mr Bratherton, who has been using the service for nine weeks, will be assessed after 13 weeks to see if he is still eligible. Natasha Maroni, 42, head of the Community Pantry department, said that the majority of people who use the service are at work and mentions delays for universal credit payments as the main reason why people applied. Maroni, who works with homeless and vulnerable people in Crewe, said: & # 39; This is one of the most deprived areas and there are many low-income families. "Many people do not meet the criteria for food banks, so they come here, the majority work, both low-income households and pensioners." I classify them as working poor, and we have a lot of single parents who work 16 hours a week. work week with high rents for which the rent subsidy does not cover.

(From the left) Mrs. Maroni, 42, Jackie Barker, 67, Joan Sharples, 65, and Geoff Barker, 73, are all involved in running the store in Crewe

Volunteers, Mr. Barker and Mrs. Sharples, help shopper John Reaveney to go to the store. & # 39; There are many single men working on zero-hours contracts. The biggest thing is universal credit. That is the real problem. An example basket at The Community Pantry 1 pack of Morrisons celery – 60p1 pack of 16 Tesco best bacon – £ 2,501 Tesco smoked gammon joint – £ 10,481 Rising Star BBQ Sauce – £ 11 pack of Tesco mixed grain flatbreads – £ 11 Princes chicken and mushroom pie – £ 11 can Tesco red beans – £ 0.651 Napoli tomatoes minced – £ 1Tesco Best package of 6 triple chocolate cookies – £ 1GRAND TOTAL: £ 19.23 & # 39; People are waiting for a down payment or if they get it all goes on the rent and they have nothing left. & # 39; There are approximately 34 members with 81 children between them. I had one person who could not pay his mortgage because the interest rates had increased. & # 39; People are desperate when they come here. We had a 67-year-old woman who ate dog biscuits because she struggled so much. & # 39; She had many health problems and could not claim her personal independence payment after switching disability benefit. She was so hungry, it was horrible. & # 39; Another had fed her children with instant mashed potatoes. She is no longer a member and it goes so well that she really donates things. & # 39; Often it is a choice between eating or heating. These people are about to survive.

Volunteer Ms. Barker shows which refrigerator items can be taken away by people who visit the pantry

A woman who visited the supermarket was so desperate that she was eating dog biscuits. & # 39; I had seen a program about a social supermarket in Salford called Lucy's Pantry, so I visited it three times to see how it worked and to see if there was a need for it in Crewe. # 39; We registered as a charity in April 2017 and opened on October 13, 2018. We are open on Saturday and Monday and have 96 members, of which 81 are active. & # 39; Most referrals come from the Citizen & # 39; s Advice Social Services Department of the Office of Cheshire East Council. & # 39; Maroni said that if people meet the criteria they will attend once a week for 13 weeks and then be assessed. If they still need help, they will sign up for another 13 weeks. The team, which consists entirely of volunteers, will also help people to give advice on how to manage their debts. & # 39; Maroni said: & # 39; We expect people to be involved. At the end of the 13 weeks you see that people manage to save money here, so that is done to pay off their debts. & # 39; Some people will greatly improve in those weeks and will not need the service anymore. & # 39; voluntarily give up their membership after seven weeks when they no longer need it.

Volunteer Mrs. Sharples works at the Community Pantry, which helps hard-up families

The supermarket in Crewe, Cheshire, helps those who struggle financially to put food on their tables and serves so many people that it has to open an extra day. When you take 16 people, those 10 have seen their situation improve drastically and they do not need the service anymore. & # 39; We had a waiting list of 15 for Christmas and that's why we're planning a new one at the end of January day to open. The food comes from the Fareshare project, as well as donations from local businesses and individuals – often people who have had to use the service themselves. People can collect a maximum of ten or more items if one buys, then you get a free offer. Four of the items are priced up to £ 1, such as canned goods, tomatoes, toiletries, three items worth between £ 1 and £ 2, two items that cost between £ 2 and £ 3, and an item worth £ 3 and higher, such as a joint of meat or a baby food. Fruits and vegetables are often given away for free to encourage healthy eating. Ms. Maroni said that the cost of a basket can range from £ 15 to £ 35. He added: "We do not make a profit. The £ 3 goes to overhead costs and everyone works here voluntarily. & # 39; This is a long-term project. We have a lease for the next three years. When we open three days a week, we help 120 people. I do not see it change quickly. & # 39;