Appeal to re-stock food bank shelves in time for Christmas
As Sherborne Food Bank prepares for its eighth Christmas supporting the community, it is time to reflect on the work that has been done in the past year and plan how to re-stock its shelves after a period of unprecedented demand with an increase in need of up to 30%. The food bank is spending more cash now than ever, topping up food donations, with an average food bank shopping trip costing £200+ per week.
Every week of the year a team of volunteers collects, sorts, stacks, packs and delivers donations kindly given by local people and businesses. This time of year brings additional challenges, as families face school holidays (meaning no school meals) and the pressure of providing for Christmas – some forced to make agonising decisions between paying for heating or buying food.
Sherborne Food Bank has experienced a significant increase in demand, even in advance of a Christmas rush. Much publicised changes in the benefits system has put additional pressure on agencies and individuals, who are often working yet struggling to make ends meet in uncertain times. Therefore the food bank is appealing for renewed generosity and donations in time for Christmas deliveries.
Trustee Dr John Crossman says:
“As a ‘helping hand to the hungry’ Sherborne Food Bank is there when needed to provide food. This is especially poignant at this time of year when some people are faced with a choice between feeding themselves or heating their homes; and Christmas is simply put on hold. Harvest donations this year were generous and we do want to thank all those who gave. But unlike in previous years when this extra stock sees us through the winter period, little of it has remained on our depot shelves for long due to increased referrals from our partner agencies. We have been told that this is the result of the impact of Universal Credits now beginning to hit many families in our local community, and of harsh decisions regarding ESA payments. People in need are often waiting six weeks and longer to receive benefits.”
Sherborne Food Bank appeals to the generosity of the local community as it faces increased need. Andrew Horsey, Treasurer, explains how you can help:
“Non-perishable food items (with a shelf-life of at least three months) can be donated at our main collection points at Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, the Cooperative at Westbridge Park, Sherborne Abbey and other local churches. There are times when the food bank runs short of essential items so we also appeal for cash donations to buy food stock as well as non-food items including nappies, toiletries and sanitary products. Donations can be made as one-off gifts on our website or through regular giving. As a registered charity we are also able to claim back tax through Gift Aid.
[Image by Katharine Davies: Pupils from Thornford Primary School helping pack Christmas food bank parcels in 2016]