Business is booming. Foot traffic has never been higher. Socially distanced, masked and sanitised patrons line up in the street. Inside the aisles are packed – as packed as they can be with no more than three people per aisle, allowing 4m2 per person, with a total capacity of twelve including two staff.
Unlike the other businesses nearby, St Benedict’s has seen a gradual but distinct uptick in customers at their community pantry since the first days of the Covid-19 lockdowns. Sister Angela oversees the donations of non-perishable staples, and bulk packaged dry goods, while her long time colleague – Sister Maureen – takes care of the distribution.
Sister Maureen keeps a close watch on the take-all-you-need, pay-what-you-can-afford storefront. Under her steely eyes nobody would dare consider taking anything more than they absolutely need. Nor would they think of paying any more than they could afford. Her keen eyes and strictly benevolent approach keeps everything and everyone on track. Admittedly, the occasional customer might find an unexpected item or two in their boxes when they get home if they have – in Sister Maureen’s opinion – paid more than they should have.