One Orange woman has taken welfare into her own hands by providing free food and books for people outside her home.
Sarah Thomas has set up her 'Little Pantry' on the front fence at 356 Summer Street in East Orange.
She and other members of the community are putting non-perishable food items in the container for people in need to take.
"A lot of people need help and a lot of people want to help," she said.
"Anyone can put in, anyone can take things out."
She started the Little Pantry this week and said other people were already contributing while others were taking what they needed.
A lot of people need help and a lot of people want to help.Sarah Thomas
"Someone put sugar and milk in it yesterday," she said.
The Little Pantry started as a little library about two-three years ago.
"For a few years I had a little library. People could pick up books and drop them back," she said.
"But my husband [Mark] needed the box. So I went to the tip and got a tin."
Mrs Thomas said she hoped the Little Pantry would help people in need.
"I just thought it would be a nice thing to do," she said.
And you can't miss the location of the Little Pantry as the address is identified by a tree on the nature strip which she has decorated.
"It's a very rare pom-pom tree," she said.
Welfare groups have noticed strong demand through Orange's winters.
FoodCare Orange president Anne Hopwood said they noticed a "slight increase" in the number of people using their services in winter.
"We have about 40-50 people who come and shop every time the shop is open so that is [about] 100 people a week," she said.
"I think the numbers are quite consistent over the winter months," she said.
FoodCare offers both food for sale at discounted prices and food rescued from major supermarkets for free to help needy people at its Glenroi Community Centre store.
Salvation Army Captain David Grounds said there was a "noticeable" increase in demand for food and funding from people in Orange in winter.
"Yes we do [see an increase]. As people's energy bills and gas bills increase there is less money for food," Captain Grounds said.
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