Bedford Foodbank is part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.
The outbreak of Covid-19 and lockdown measures have resulted in a significant increase in the number of people requiring help and support from foodbanks. Loss of income, increased demand for food for families that are house bound and even shortages of foodstuffs and household items has placed greater pressure on the Bedford Foodbank team. March was their busiest month through making available 3-day emergency food packs for 1050 people, a 70% increase on the same time last year.
The resilience of the team has been exemplary, experiencing its own challenges around volunteers themselves being amongst the vulnerable and self isolating, along with the need to manage the logistics of how to generate enough supplies to meet demand, arrange storage and to ensure parcels can be collected whilst adhering to social distancing.
The team are particularly grateful for the donations made via the food collection bins at local super markets. The foodbank has also received additional food and financial donations from Tesco, Waitrose, Morrisons, Bedfordshire & Luton Community Fund, Bedford Rotary Club, Bedfordshire Rotary Club and a huge number of local individuals, churches and businesses. Amongst its biggest donations was 45 pallets from B&M, which created a short-term challenge around storage, a problem soon overcome with help from Bedford Council who were able to provide access to suitable temporary warehousing.
In recognition of the team’s sterling efforts, Bedford Foodbank has been awarded The High Sherriff of Bedfordshire Certificate from Mrs Susan Lousada DL in recognition of its hard work, care and dedication in providing food for those in need at the time of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Commenting on receiving the Award, Sarah Broughton, Project Manager at Bedford Foodbank, said: “We are especially honoured to have received this award – it means a lot to all the team who are working exceptionally hard to respond to the needs of those in our local community who have been adversely affected by the impact of Covid-19.
“Looking ahead we still envisage that whilst demand may have peaked, there will be further need for supplies over and above what we might require in a more typical year. Alongside this we believe that the normal donations we receive via school harvest festivals etc, may be affected by social distancing. We therefore welcome all donations, particularly of dry, ambient and long-life food stuffs including tinned items, pasta, rice, tea and coffee as well as personal hygiene items such as soap, deodorant and shampoo.”
Those looking to help can either email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01234 268569 or visit bedford.foodbank.org.uk. Information on foodbanks in other areas of the country can be found by visiting www.trusselltrust.org.