Friday, 20 November 2020 21:40

Foodbanks in Wiltshire fearful as winter looms Featured

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AS winter approaches and England adapts to a second lockdown a plea for support has been issued by foodbanks.

Foodbanks played a pivotal role throughout the first lockdown in supporting families and groups. Demand grew across the county and extra volunteers were scrambled to ensure food and essentials reached people in need.

While donations of food are always appreciated, now they say it is financial donations that will help foodbanks adapt to a potential surge in families seeking help.

Gill Smith, project manager of the Malmesbury Foodbank, said:“Output doubled during the first lockdown and we want to be nimble and ready to adapt if things really do get bad again.”

She added: “We are a smaller foodbank here in Malmesbury, but that does not mean we are immune to poverty here, not at all. There are people who need help and we need to be here for them. No-one should be in a position when they are struggling to feed their children.”

Steve Drew, chairman of the Corsham and Churches Foodbank, also explained that volunteers were poised to respond to a potential winter rush.

Last year the charity supported 58 families at Christmas, which could rise this year.

He said: “We are still busy and we do anticipate things to get busier when furlough scheme ends. “We want to make sure we stay in a position to help as many families as possible.”

The Corsham and Churches Foodbank was started in 2011 as a temporary measure but it quickly became apparent that its services were needed long term.

Mr Drew added: “Corsham may look prosperous but there are very much still people in need.” The foodbank offers tinned food and household essentials, and also vouchers that can be spent at local greengrocers and chemists - and financial donations are key to ensuring this can continue.

Devizes and District Foodbank project manager Liz Starling said the number of people fed during March and April this year more than doubled over the same time last year.

“ We then saw a decline from May onwards which we can only assume was due to support available by way of Government and Local Authority food boxes and the various support by way of food boxes and meals provided by local communities.”

She said: “We know that this support will not be around forever and we would encourage anyone who cannot afford to put food on the table to contact one of our partner agencies and ask for a referral to the foodbank.”

The Devizes and District Foodbank is also looking to replace its ageing vehicle with a new model. If you can help, call 07379 818913.

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