URGENT PLEA FOR HELP AS FOOD SUPPLIES RUN LOW
The Isle of Wight foodbank, which helps local people in a crisis, is making an urgent plea for food supplies as their stocks drop to worrying levels.
Hannah King, Manager of Isle of Wight foodbank said, “We usually hold between 12-14 tonnes of food in the warehouse at any time, but we are currently down to 8.2 tonnes. Over the last few months (June, July and August), we have seen a significant increase in demand due to our summer holiday scheme which helps families whose children would usually receive free school meals. During this period, we fed an average of 297 adults and 279 children per month, a total of 1,728. Compared to last year, numbers are up by about 200 more over the same three month period when we fed an average of 276 adults, 245 children per month – totalling 1,532.”
Hannah continued, “We have seen higher demand than we expected over the summer period this year, resulting in a greater amount of food that has been given out. Our resources are critically low with a large number of our staple food items, such as Baked beans; Tinned fruit; Tinned potatoes; Tinned Vegetables; Soup; and Puddings (rice pudding, tinned sponge puddings, and custard). We aim to give three-days worth of nutritionally balanced food to all who receive our food parcels, although those who receive the holiday scheme vouchers are only given items which we have higher stock levels of in our warehouse.“
Looking ahead to the Christmas period, Hannah said, “While it is lovely to give luxury Christmas food items to our clients over the Christmas period, we would still aim to fill all our food parcels with the standard food supplies – also the stock if dates allow, can also be used in the New Year. In December 2015 we helped 136 people on the holiday scheme, the following year we helped 446, so looking forward we are expecting an even higher demand on our stock levels. This will also be in addition to the 700-800 people we expect to help in December with our usual red vouchers.”
Food can be donated to the IW Foodbank via special ‘bins’ in most of the Island’s major supermarkets or at the Foodbank Centre in Love Lane, Cowes (opening times /details listed on our website: https://isleofwight.foodbank.org.uk/ ). Isle of Wight foodbank will also be at Tesco Extra in Ryde for the first weekend in December, asking for and collecting the items much in need.
Isle of Wight foodbank was established in April 2011 and opened its first distribution centre in the July. The organisation now consists of a warehouse, offices and a textile recycling centre and community café at The foodbank Centre, Love Lane, Cowes, plus 6 foodbank distribution centres located around the Island at Cowes, Ryde, Newport, Ventnor, Sandown, and Freshwater.
Clients are referred via a voucher scheme and Isle of Wight foodbank works with approximately 100 frontline care professionals (children’s centres, health visitors, probation office, Island’s drug and alcohol team, etc) who hold and distribute the vouchers. Clients can only have 3 vouchers within a 6 month period unless their case is exceptional. One voucher entitles the client to 3 days’ worth of nutritionally balanced food which is collected from one of 6 distribution centres on the Island.
Hannah said, “We are still seeing a high amount of families where both parents are in full time employment, but if a large unexpected bill comes in, they find themselves having to choose between paying the bill, paying for food for themselves and their family or getting in to the downward spiral of debt. We also see clients struggling to manage when they have secured a job, come off their benefits and still have to cope for the first month before they receive their first pay check.
Hannah continued, “The local community has been and continues to be, very generous with their support of IW Foodbank and we are very grateful for this, however, we need to call on this support again now to help us prepare for the coming months and Christmas in particular.”
In order for the foodbank to continue it was recognised from the outset that it would need to be self-sustaining as the organisation receives no major funding. The textile project enables foodbank to support the community by offering low priced clothing and textiles throughout the year, and this also helps to raise much needed funds.
Turning fashion into food. On the first Saturday of every month, IW foodbank runs a clothing sale at the foodbank centre in Love Lane, Cowes where customers can relax in comfortable surroundings and shop for a bargain from a wide selection of brand new and pre-loved clothing including sportswear, school uniform, day and evening wear, and top brands like Zara, Ralph Lauren, Fred Perry, Ted Baker, Monsoon, Laura Ashley, TopShop & ASOS. The next event takes place on Saturday 7 October, 10am – 1pm with coffee and homemade cake available too!