Food Bank Update July.
We visited the food bank last week for a meeting with our contacts to better understand the challenges they have been facing and how they see the way ahead.
Your generosity and that of others in the local area has been overwhelming and we together have been able to help the food bank with almost £ 40,000. worth of high quality, ethically sourced,
environmentally sound products over the last 16 months since the pandemic struck.
Almost 3,000 residents in the Chesham and Amersham constituency have been considered to be in crisis during that time and the referrals to the Food Bank increased by nearly 300% between March and June 2020. Food parcels equivalent to 53,838 meals have been delivered to folk in need in the last 12 months.
We also learned that each food parcel delivered has a retail value of around £ 100, and must weigh no more than 15 kg. Each client has a referral voucher from one of the organisations the food bank works with - for example CAB, Housing Associations, local schools etc. and they are receiving help and support with the root cause of their crisis situation.
The food bank provides 5 types of parcel: single person, couple, single parent family, family and homeless person. Although the latter is
mercifully rare there are a number of people who are sofa surfing.
Recipients are limited to 1 parcel per month unless in extreme circumstances when the food bank use their best judgement to
Whilst there is hope that the upcoming relaxation of covid restrictions will in time lead to an improvement in economic conditions and a reduction in the demands on the food bank this will not be immediate and there are serious issues down the track that are a source of concern. The following is a list of the major worries our contacts have, this list is not exhaustive.
End of Furlough - increase in unemployment-increase in demand
Savings running out- increase in demand
Universal Credit uplift being phased out – increase in demand
End of cut off period for settled status for EU citizens, those who haven’t registered are predominately low skilled and will no longer be able to work- increase in demand.
The lifting of the stay on evictions-increase in homelessness
The 5 week wait involved in the move to Universal Credit-increase in debt
The increase in domestic disruption including violence will continue to lead to more family breakups
The potential devastation of illness with SSP being £ 95/week
It is also a sad fact that pre pandemic the demand on the food bank had increased year on year over the last 10 years and it is anticipated that post pandemic this will continue to be the case.
The Chiltern Food bank is an independent charity which works under the auspices of the Trussel Trust who have produced the following information which we found revealing.
¾ of all food parcel recipients live in a household containing an individual with mental health challenges.
1 in 4 working age recipients have a disability
1/3 of all parcels are eaten by children.
A majority of clients are in full time work but due to low income and zero hour contracts are unable to get by without help.
The main crisis triggers are Debt, Unemployment, illness and mental health issues, family breakdown and domestic violence. Food poverty is a by-product of these and other major issues.
The food bank have collection points in supermarkets in the area and collect from these 2 or 3 times a week, food champions offer communities a local drop off point, we provide a significant amount of
support due to your generosity. Supermarkets are no longer donating directly to the food bank as they did in the early days of the first lockdown. Direct financial donations are also made by individuals
and groups to the food bank.
The food bank in collaboration with the Trussel Trust and other partners is working to address some of the root causes behind people getting in to a crisis situation and supporting them through it and hopefully out the other side. They have a hardship fund they can use, they provide fuel vouchers and they help fund local support groups and charities to support those who need it the most.
So, where do we go from here?
I wish I could say that our work is done and that we are not needed anymore, but sadly that is not the case. In a perfect world our government would have sorted the welfare state and the social care
structures so that people didn’t fall through the cracks, but in the here and now that is also not the reality. I believe that we need to continue to do what we are doing because we have become part of the safety net created by the Food Bank, the Trussel Trust and other organisations and charities. We hope to be able to continue to source high quality, ethically and environmentally sound produce which is so valued by the food bank and their clients and which allows them to provide range and variety to the food parcels. With our smaller pack sizes and the variety we can offer these goods are invaluable to the food bank. We very much hope that you will be able to continue in your wholehearted and generous support, but we accept that it is a big ask. We would be grateful for
feedback on the foregoing and any ideas of how we can adapt going forward. Also if anyone has any questions on what we do and how we operate please don’t hesitate to ask.
Margaret & Bill Dykes
If you can think of others who may be willing to join us in our efforts to help those less fortunate than ourselves please pass this appeal on. I can provide a form of words if that would be helpful.
If you are aware of any families or individuals who need help from the food bank a call to the dedicated number 01494 785660 is all they need to do to arrange an emergency delivery.
LENTILS, TOOR DAHL and CHICKPEAS
These Organic and Fairtrade store cupboard staples are in stock, free from any artificial colourants or flavourings. Harvested in accordance to Fairtrade principles in India, you can rest assured that the farmers and everyone throughout the production process has received a fair price for their element of the products’ journey to your dinner table. The chickpeas are high in protein, perfect for stirring into curries or for making your own hummus. The yellow split lentils and red lentils are a healthy option, great for soups, curries and more. From hearty soups to refreshing salads and spicy curry dishes in combination with the Eswatini curry cook in sauce, lentils are a fantastic ingredient to have in your store cupboard, with a shelf life that minimises food waste.
Traidcraft were overwhelmed by the support the Regenerators Appeal has received over the last few months. Our donations will support the Regenerators in vulnerable communities in Tanzania, Kenya, Senegal and Bangladesh to fight back against the devastating impact of climate change. The UK government’s matched funding will fund a new project working with Regenerators in Tanzania. 43,350 people will benefit from natural resource management and climate change adaptation including 632 acres of tree planting. 2000 smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs will participate in biodiversity activities such as beekeeping, fruit trees and fishing. 2000 smallholder farmers will get access to new climate-resilient technology. This is just one part of the change that your support will create – these just aren’t statistics but are people’s lives for the long term. Thanks to us these people can fight back and protect the earth for generations to come and earn more for the hard work they do every day. Well done us!
Our campaign to reduce plastic by refilling returned bottles for reuse continues, please consider trying the Bio D products we stock. Reduce your plastic use even further and trying the shampoo and soap bars which are great products both for you and the producers.
Normality is slowly returning and let’s hope that continues. September seems to be a good month to start again but please let me know your thoughts. Home deliveries continue to go well but I am missing reaching new supporters and displaying new products.
We continue to offer a delivery service during the current restrictions and to avoid social contact I will leave the goods where you advise. The stock situation is good at the moment see attached stock list.
Margaret Dykes 01 494 874511 email@example.com
Should you feel able to contribute or wish to purchase for you own use please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org ,
telephone us on 01494874511
text to 07968421416.
Because of the difficulty in making payments in person we would prefer that people use one of the following methods of contribution/payment.
By bank transfer - we will send you our bank details upon receipt of your order.
By cheque made payable to Traidcraft Plc and sent to
Margaret and Bill Dykes
4, Roughwood Fields
Chalfont St Giles