Our support of Telford Foodbank goes back to September 2018 when Erin Aston spoke at a club meeting about her work seeking food and toiletries donations for the Foodbank and explaining how it operates. At that time it’s fair to say our members were amazed at the high level of demand and the simplicity of the food parcels distributed. Members made their first food collections the following week and then agreed to do the same at the end of each month for a trial period of six months. In between the first two collections we gave the Foodbank £100 for a desperately needed new heavy duty sack truck. Our first Christmas collection weighed in at a fantastic 215 kg and it wasn’t long before the club decided to carry on supporting the Foodbank for as long as there is a significant need. By now members were also making individual cash donations.
Monthly collections continued at an ever increasing amount culminating in 313 kg in February 2020. By then members had donated almost three tonnes of food and toiletries and over £900 in cash. Then came the lockdown and our collections came to a crashing halt. However, the need was increasing significantly as more and more people were made redundant or furloughed. So our members turned to cash donations. And they have come up trumps! In March members donated £463 in lieu of lunch fees that would be paid at our regular Club meetings, in April £544 and just recently £645, a total of £1652.
But the need remains; between January and April 2020 referrals rose by more than 70%, primarily due to Universal Credit claims and health issues. Although there are now signs that the rate of increase is beginning to diminish the demand for support is still very high. This will be exacerbated with free school meals vouchers ceasing during the usual school holidays period, it looks as though July and August will be particularly challenging. Whatever happens, Wellington Rotary will still be there to support the outstanding work done by the Telford Foodbank.