Visiting the East Suffolk Food Bank

 

 
Last year we decided that we wanted to do more to give back to our local community, and with the help of the Suffolk Community Foundation, we launched the Best of Suffolk Charity Fund.

A year on, our guests and owners, along with the local public and businesses have helped us ‘hook a duck’, sponsored our director on a 5,000 mile banger rally, donated £1 when booking their holiday and we’re proud to say that we’ve raised £3,000!

 

We’ve now given our first grant of £3,000 to a very worthy cause – The East Suffolk Foodbank – supporting local families in crisis across Suffolk.  From their main warehouse in Lowestoft they stack and sort food parcels which are then delivered to those in need as far south as Leiston and Saxmundham, and west to Beccles.
We wanted to know exactly how our generous customers’ donations have helped the charity, so we went to meet the Project Manager, Philip Riley, at a local storage unit.

 
Rachel with Philip Riley, Project Manager at East Suffolk Foodbank
Philip showed us the food packages that are made up for different sized families.  These packages provide enough food to feed a family for a minimum of 3 days, with hints and tips on how to make nutritious meals that last.  He also explained 86% that these families in crisis only ever need 1, 2 or 3 boxes to help them get back on their feet.
One of the many local supermarket collections for food. 
 
The foodbanks rely on donations of non-perishable, in date food, from schools, churches, businesses and individuals. ‘Supermarket Collections’ are one of the main ways that food is donated. These are food drives held at supermarkets where volunteers give shoppers a ‘foodbank shopping list’ and ask them to buy an extra item or two for local people in crisis.
 
Volunteers sort food to check that it’s in date and pack it into boxes ready to be given to people in need.  We learnt that our grant would go towards helping to keep the charities van running for another year, delivering the donated food parcels to people in the community who are unable to go into the main foodbanks themselves.

 

 A food bank vouchers issued to someone in crisis

  Families in crisis must be referred to the foodbank by care professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers, CAB and police who are then able to issue vouchers entitling the family to one food parcel.
 
Foodbank clients bring their voucher to a foodbank centre where it can be redeemed for three days emergency food. Volunteers meet clients over a cup of tea or free hot meal and are also able to signpost people to further agencies and charities who can help them to solve any longer-term problems they may have. 
We’re all really proud of the money we’ve raised, and know that the grant we’ve given will be helping people in need in our community over the coming year.
This year we are aiming to raise even more…watch this space!!