A FULLY electric mobile pantry has gone into use in the Quantock Hills area supplying free groceries for people facing an emergency and to others in a small subscription service.

Quantock Foodbank is a combined foodbank and pantry which operates on a referral basis and is a vital lifeline for families in need across parts of West Somerset.

The £80,000 vehicle, together with a charging installation, was funded through a combination of community fund-raising, corporate sponsorships, and small grants.

Foodbank manager Marlene Mason said the Ford E-Transit L3 chassis was equipped with a custom-built state-of-the-art insulated box body by Paneltex and integrated solar panels.

Quantock Foodbank's electric mobile pantry in Watchet.
Quantock Foodbank's electric mobile pantry in Watchet. ( )

Ms Mason said it was not just a zero-emission vehicle, it was ‘a game-changer in the fight against food poverty’, ensuring fresh, nutritious food delivery to vulnerable people in local communities.

She said: “This incredible vehicle is a testament to the dedication and innovation of our team and supporters.

“With the rising cost of living putting immense pressure on families, this mobile pantry will enable us to deliver vital food aid more effectively and efficiently.

“We are incredibly grateful to all who made this possible.”

Ms Mason said the mobile pantry would allow the foodbank to expand its reach to serve communities further afield, tackling food insecurity in outlying villages.

It meant increased capacity nutritious food delivered to a larger number of families in need.

And it reduced environmental impact and promoted sustainability, contributing to a greener future for West Somerset.

The custom-built truck boasts several environmentally friendly features:

  • Zero-emission electric engine, minimizing carbon footprint and contributing to cleaner air in West Somerset while promoting Somerset’s goal of being a carbon neutral county by 2030

  • Integrated solar panels harnessing the sun's power to charge the internal equipment, including refrigerator, lights, and other small items

  • Insulated box body ensuring fresh produce is maintained at optimal temperatures

Quantock Foodbank is now also looking for more volunteers to help operate the mobile pantry and ensure its smooth running.

Anybody who is interested in volunteering or who wants more information should contact Ms Mason by emailing [email protected].