During last year’s Covid restrictions Crediton Food Bank was helping to feed about 5,000 local people, a huge increase on previous years. Although this figure has since reduced, the food bank is still very busy supporting those most in need and demand on their services looks set to rise again, as Nancy Murgatroyd reports.
It is inspiring to see the hive of activity at the Crediton Food Bank as the volunteers fill bags and boxes to take to members of our community who are in need. There are shelves full of supplies, but they always need more.
The food bank is based at The Manse, next to Crediton Congregational Church and is open on Tuesday and Friday from 9 am to 12.30 pm.
There are families in our area who are struggling to put food on the table as, for people on low incomes, a sudden crisis – redundancy, benefit delay or even an unexpected bill, can mean going hungry. Every day, parents are skipping meals to feed their children and people are forced to choose between paying the rent and eating. This has been even more evident during the Covid 19 pandemic.
In 2019 the food bank supported 1,859 adults and children and in 2020, during Covid restrictions, the figure reached approximately 5,000. Since then, it has reduced but is now on the rise again due to increasing prices for fuel, power and food as well as changes in universal credit.
To give some national context, in February 2021 there were more than 2,200 food banks in the UK, according to research shared by parliament, while there are approximately 1,300 McDonald’s restaurants in Britain, according to the international chain.
The Crediton Food Bank also offers community support, referring and signposting to other agencies such as Citizens Advice and CHAT (Churches Housing Action Team). Mental health issues can adversely affect peoples’ ability to cope, support and counselling can make a big difference. It is important that people do not become dependent on the food bank in the long term and that they are helped towards other solutions.
After seven months of work the Crediton Food Bank became a Registered Charity in July this year and gifts can now attract that all-important Gift Aid. As well as buying fresh food each week, gifts of money also contribute to the cost of a coordinator and support worker.
Thankfully, up to now the generosity of local people has matched the dramatic increase in need.
Financial donations can be made by:
Posting a cheque to Crediton Food Bank, Crediton Congregational Church, 98 High St, Crediton EX17 3LF
Or making a bank transfer or setting up a standing order.
Sort code: 40-20–30
Account name: Crediton Foodbank
Account Number: 12600641
Food donations can be made directly to the Food Bank during opening times or through the collection bins in Tesco, Morrison’s or the Yellow Bookshop. It is important that all contributions are in date. If you are donating in the lead-up to Christmas ’use by’ codes must last until after the 25th.
To get an idea of the kind of food that is needed you can follow the Crediton Food Bank on Facebook
Crediton Food Bank is a “Christians Together in Crediton” initiative providing emergency food for local people in Crediton and the surrounding villages. The Congregational Church website tells you more.
Listen here to Crediton Radio’s interview with food bank founder Chris Parsons.