2020 was a year like no other. The impacts of coronavirus, achieving charirable status and managing a 64% increase in foodbank usage.
The 6th Annual Meeting of the Meon Valley Food Bank was held on Monday 22nd March. Due to coronavirus the meeting was hosted on Zoom. Below is a summary of the 2020 Annual Report presented on the evening.
- Food bank use increased by 64% from 2019.
- In 2020 we supplied food to 1442 people of which 581 were children.
- The Covid pandemic brought out the worst in people – hoarding of loo rolls and pasta – which forced us to question whether we could continue operating.
- The Covid pandemic brought out the best in people – amazing groups of people getting together to organise food collections.
- We have been appointed as the food donation partner of the new Sainsburys store in Bishops Waltham which is excellent news.
- Sometimes we have received more food that we need and have been able to share our pasta mountain and soup lake with other local food banks.
- A typical week sees us feeding maybe 40 people although in the two weeks before Christmas we supplied food to nearly 200 people.
- Tales of real hardship are heart-breaking.
- Occasionally there are moments to rejoice – “You helped me when I was at rock bottom, when I was in despair. Thank you”. This individual has now started a small charity to give back to those who helped when help was needed.
- One of the food banks we have been helping is at Above Bar Church in Southampton who are regularly feeding over 250 people each week. In rural Hampshire we know little of food poverty in cities.
- We have been able to supplement food for families who normally receive free school meals and were at one stage helping 40 families through one local school.
- During 2020 we were awarded charitable status
- Financial gifts have poured in at an unprecedented rate.
- This has given us the security to be able to invest in equipment we need for our day-to-day operations.
- We have been able to purchase food to supplement the donations we receive.
- To support the 40 school families, we were able to spend over £900 buying extra food to meet their needs.
- As a charity we are now able to claim Gift Aid on eligible donations
- Since early 2015, when the food bank was opened, we have made our home at the Bishops Waltham Youth Hall.
- We have known for some time that the building was likely to be demolished and that we would have to move out.
- Despite extensive enquiries in Bishops Waltham, we have been unable to find somewhere to move to.
- We have now accepted the opportunity presented to us by Wickham Community Centre to move there as they have a room we can use on 2 days each week and storage space for all our food supplies
- Our rental costs will be higher at Wickham
- We will need to spend money on new racking systems and other items to bring the storage facilities up to the standard we need.
- This move is likely to occur during May and June.
- We will publish dates and other contact information in due course.
- Sainsbury’s will remain as the principal “drop off point” for donations although we are trying to secure an additional one elsewhere in Bishops Waltham.