The coordinators of the Somer Valley Foodbank have released more details on the number of people who have benefited from the community welfare project since it was launched last year.
Since its launch on 8th January 2013, a total of 1,695 people have been fed after visiting one of the distribution centres in Peasedown St John, Radstock or Midsomer Norton. 1000 of these were adults, with the remainder being under 18 years of age.
Revd Matthew Street, the Leader of St John’s Church in Peasedown St John said: “These figures show how much of a positive impact the foodbank is having.
“Without this essential project, more than 1,000 people would have struggled otherwise.”
In total, over 21,000 kilos of food has been donated within the last 15 months from a series of supermarket collections at Tesco’s in Midsomer Norton and RADCO in Radstock, and from the generosity of 23 churches and other organisations.
Foodbanks provide three days of emergency food to people who need it the most. Professionals such as health visitors, social workers and the CAB identify people in crisis and issue them with a Foodbank voucher.
The voucher can be taken to a Foodbank distribution centre where a friendly team of volunteers will offer a cup of tea and help people with their food needs.
With more than 100 volunteers collecting and transporting food, helping in distribution centres, and providing support to those who visit, the Somer Valley Foodbank is one of the biggest volunteer-led projects in Bath and North East Somerset.
Matthew added: “One of the ways people are helping us, and ensuring that we can continue to feed people for another fifteen months, is by giving a home to a food collection bin.
“Any school, church or community organisation is welcome to have one for free if they feel they have the potential to collect large amounts of non-perishable food for us.
“So many more have said they’d like to get involved or help where they can, but time doesn’t often permit them to do so. Thanks to these collection bins that can be placed in a variety of venues, even more people can lend a helping hand.”
Of the 1,695 people who have received help, almost a third did so because of delays to their benefits, 20% of attendees did so because of their low income, 18% visited due to changes to their benefits, and the rest attended a Foodbank distribution centre due to finding themselves in financial debt.