Businesses in Taunton have been instrumental in helping to start a Foodbank in Taunton so that food parcels will be provided to those who are in need.
The Foodbank in Taunton is one of more than 200 in the UK that aim to provide Nutritionally balanced emergency food parcels for local people in crisis. These food parcels will be provided to those who are in need, on the receipt of a voucher which has been issued by a front line agency.
Pam Walker, Project Manager for Taunton Foodbank said “We have continued to see a need for the Foodbank in Taunton as people continue to be made redundant, see a sudden change in their circumstances or receive unexpected bills from the winter period. Often this results in people having no money available to buy food for themselves or their families. People in need will be given a numbered and signed voucher from a professional that they are likely to come into contact with such as a health worker, social worker, staff working in education or someone else who knows there is a need”.
However the Foodbank could not have started without the help and support of local businesses that have offered shelving, storage facilities, grants and time so that their staff can take an active part in this initiative.
Pam added “We have been supported by a local business and it has been amazing to see the generosity of people and businesses at a time of financial challenges. However these donors understand that there is a desperate need for the Foodbank”.
“There is evidence that in times of financial difficulty, like those we are currently facing, there is a rise in theft of food from shops and supermarkets or people just go hungry for several days. The Foodbank gives food for three days, which helps people to get back on track and gives time for a longer term solution to be found. However it is important to stress that this is not a service for the homeless as there is already provision for this”.
Andy Sharman, Scheme Co-ordinator for Somerset West Businesses Against Crime had the initial idea to start the Foodbank because he saw a rise in thefts from shops. Andy has been working with |members of Taunton Christians Together to get the Foodbank off the ground as part of the “Back on TRACK” programme.
Andy said “We are pleased that one of our members, ASDA, has given Foodbank their support. We hope their involvement will lead to other businesses showing their support by allowing collections at their premises or encouraging their staff to get involved by volunteering for Foodbank. This vital service is a great initiative and we are one step closer to being able to support vulnerable people in our community”.
The Foodbank was able to collect half a tone of food during a day’s collection at Asda supermarket on 26 May but needs another two tones before it can open its doors. The distribution centre for the Foodbank will be at the United Reformed Church, Paul Street, Taunton for two hours a day once or twice a week depending on the amount of food collected and number of volunteers available.
Andy added “The Foodbank is a win-win situation. Businesses and local community working in partnership to provide support to individuals and families so they can meet their basic needs for a few days. In other areas this has helped to change the course of people’s lives as it helps vulnerable people at a time of need”.
The Foodbank needs more volunteers, additional shelving and grants or donations to support its work as well as other food stores to participate. As the Foodbank is run by volunteers virtually all of the money received goes straight to those in need.
The Foodbank is a franchise of the Trussell Trust, which runs Foodbanks throughout the country.
If you would like to be a volunteer or support Taunton Foodbank, please contact Pam Walker, the Foodbank Manager on 07761 624 216 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org