Who would have thought we would be where we are at Christmas
Part 7 of our Continuing Adventures of Running a Food & Toiletries Bank during a pandemic. Weeks 36 - 40
So much seems to have happened in the last five weeks, we have come out of lockdown and back into the tier system. Our food bank manager has started. We have seen record amounts of donations and record demand for essential items. Many thanks to those who helped plug our funding gap to get through Christmas and into the New Year. We have received gifts to give out and grants to support Christmas initiatives. We have also started to receive the full range of donations again post Lockdown 2. Many have contributed to our reverse Advent campaign. If you want to help us financially then go to use this link. or to find past newsletters and more information then head over to this page Thank you to everyone who has helped us this year and we wish you a jolly holly Christmas
This is Sharon Fung who is our new Food Bank Manager. Sharon started mid November and is getting to know the ropes. We have a years funding with many thanks to National Lottery Community Fund, Doncaster Council Fight Back Fund, and South Yorkshire Community Fund.
Demand continues to increase with our busiest time ever in the last two weeks. There have been gradual shifts in who is attending. Women now account for 42% of all attendees, where at the start of the pandemic it was about 20% . The number of families we are helping has doubled from 74 at half term to 154 at the end of term. Overall demand has increase 35% since August and 1000% since before the pandemic. 38% of all families are from the BAME community. 36% of children in families are in under 5, 35% are in primary or junior school and 29% are in Secondary School.
We continued to get support from many organisations including Spotborough Orchard Infant School, Sir Thomas Wharton Academy Edlington, AF Blakemore & Sons, Doncaster Main Fire Station, Milk & More.
A theme of the last 40 weeks has been peoples amazing generosity and desire to help. Much of what we do has grown from small ideas which have taken off. Last newsletter I mentioned the half term food bags for children we did with BRIX coffee shop. A Local Ladies group decided they want to help for Christmas, so thank you to Louise and team for providing 150 selection boxes, quality age appropriate books and bags of sweets. These have been distributed and news of this initiative spurned others to join in so we have distributed 270 selection boxes! Toys then just started arriving unannounced and many children have also received presents.
Next to arrive were 90 "Bags of Joy" from a group in Conisborough containing lovely toiletries and treats for adults. Since September we had been keeping some donations for presents at Christmas, soon many more arrived and we have also been able to give 127 adults a present.
We were nominated by an employee at FareShare to apply for a grant from Marcus Rashfords initiative "Kids at Christmas" and received a £1000. We were then contacted by the organisation "New Wine" who suggested we apply for matched funding for our Christmas initiatives from the Church Revitalisation Trust. They awarded matched funding of £2532 for all we have been doing at Christmas which is fantastic! The money is being used to buy and deliver 200 food bags to children at Christmas. Below is the food ready to packed, thank you to ASDA for logistical support.
Below are some of our volunteers, they are immense and we could do it without them. We couldn't do much without everyone who supports us so marvellously, so a big big thank you to you ALL
Parish Giving Scheme (PGS)
Donations can be made on a monthly, quarterly or annual basis by Direct Debit using a PGS gift form. Even though the donations are made to the PGS, donations are restricted to our community work and cannot be used elsewhere.
The donation will be passed back to us by 10th of the month. Gift Aid will be sent separately once PGS has received it from HMRC.
You can set this all up by calling the dedicated telephone number:0333 002 1271
Lines are open Monday to Friday, between 9 – 5pm.
You will need to have your bank account details,
church/parish name: BLW Youth & Community Fund
and PGS parish code to hand: 35A635187