We have just completed our annual stocktake and I thought it would be a good time to provide an update on your local foodbank.
Firstly, I would like to start with a round of thanks. It hasn’t been an easy time, with some of our volunteers having to temporarily drop off the rota because of age and health shielding concerns. We haven’t forgotten you and would like to welcome you back as soon as is feasible. The remaining volunteers have done a wonderful job continuing to provide a service to those in food crisis since the lockdown in March. Our way of working has had to change in that we are no longer allowed to welcome clients into the building or offer refreshments but we hope the warmth in our welcome remains. We have also developed new patterns of working in the store, which, looking on the bright side, seem to be more efficient than before.
I would also like to thank those groups and individuals who so generously donated to our supplies and to our cash reserves. This has not only enabled us to more than manage the increase in demand, but also to improve the healthy eating options in our provision for clients. Since May we have been issuing £10 Fruit and Veg vouchers that can be redeemed through Kemps, the local Yaxley greengrocer in addition to our standard food parcels. This gives our clients the option to choose fresh produce of their choice to help feed themselves and their families whilst supporting a local small business.
There are specific thanks to the Yaxley Parish Council who continue to support us in many ways and also the East of England Co-operative and Yaxley Co-operative store who support us in food donations. Last Christmas, we were able to donate new toys to the children of the families we support through our Christmas parcels scheme due to the enormous generosity of the East of England Co-operative and their regional customers.
Coming back to our stocktake, the following figures may be of interest to some:
Stock Donated 11,396Kg
Stock Given Out 10103Kg
Food Parcels Issued 243
As you would expect, this is a significant increase of about 25% in both donations and parcels issued on the 2019 figures despite the fact that the summer holiday period was quieter than usual due to the school meal voucher scheme decision. We also expect the coming months to increase demand further as the jobs market starts to tighten significantly. Since lockdown in March we have ceased to request vouchers as we understand that these are not easy to obtain from many of our current voucher holders. Although it is helpful if clients come with a voucher, we do not turn away those in need.
Again, I would like to offer our enormous thanks to all those who have supported us in the past year and we look forward to continuing to help the vulnerable in our community this autumn and beyond into 2021. If you know someone who is in food need, please do not hesitate to encourage them to get in touch with us via email or on the foodbank telephone, 07579825798
Chris & Sue Grant