How you can help Plymouth Foodbank

There is a warm welcome for all those in need at Plymouth Foodbank. Photo: Plymouth Foodbank

There is a warm welcome for all those in need at Plymouth Foodbank. Photo: Plymouth Foodbank - Credit: Archant

The city community project has seen a huge rise in demand this year

Donations from the public help to keep stores up. Photo: Plymouth Foodbank

Donations from the public help to keep stores up. Photo: Plymouth Foodbank - Credit: Archant

“I never thought it would be me that needed to turn to a Foodbank.” Fourteen simple words that are uttered by thousands of people across the UK every week – and the numbers are growing week on week as the impact of COVID-19 continues to hit.

Every day people are facing monumental shifts in their lives due to family bereavement, dramatic changes in finances and widespread job losses – they never thought it could happen to them. But it does.

When circumstances suddenly change, there are very few places to turn. But that is where the UK’s network of Foodbanks comes in. And in Plymouth, the Foodbank does much more than simply provide a parcel of food that can feed a family for three days.

Since 2008, Plymouth Foodbank has operated out of the Oasis Centre in Plymouth – a community project in the heart of Stonehouse. The project is managed and delivered by the Plymouth Methodist Mission Circuit and it is a core part of their outreach work in the city.

But 2020 has been a year like no other. In the three months from March to June this year they provided almost 2,000 food parcels to people in need, supporting over 2,500 adults and over 1,200 children – that’s an increase of almost 50% when compared to the same three months in the previous year.

Thankfully, there has been great support from the local community – local people have donated many more items than usual and supermarkets have donated tonnes of additional products to fill food parcels for families in crisis.

But more than simply providing food that will keep a family from going hungry, Plymouth Foodbank is committed to breaking the cycle of poverty and helping people recover from the point of crisis that has brought them to the Foodbank door. Debt counselling, budgeting advice, signposting and a full range of training courses are all on offer when someone picks up a food parcel – this is about prevention AND cure.

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Plymouth Foodbank Project Manager, Maria says: “Whilst we have seen a huge growth in demand for our support in recent months, we have been able to support every single family that has needed help – putting food on the table and giving them hope in a time of crisis. The support of local people and local businesses has been incredible and we couldn’t have supported all those who have looked to us for support without them.

“Whilst putting food on the tables of families is important in the short term, we are committed to working with each family to ensure they are well fed now and in the future, and that means helping to make sure they don’t need the Foodbank to make this happen going forward.”

There is so much more on offer in a food parcel from a Foodbank than a few cans of rice pudding, a packet of pasta and some breakfast cereal – there is hope, there is a listening ear, there is compassion and there are real people; ready and willing to listen, to serve, to help and to stand with each and every family who face uncertainty in the coming months.

I want to be part of the that ‘food parcel of hope’ and I bet you do too.

When you’re next in the supermarket, why not grab a few extra items and drop them in the collection baskets? Or better still jump on the internet and make a donation today.

Whilst we continue to contend with the impact of Covid-19 on jobs, families and our wider communities, together, we can all do something little that will feed another family and give them hope for the future.

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