Foodbank marks nearly 10 years of helping to support town
Saltash Foodbank has been helping the community since 2012; above, Brian and Janice Pinkham, of Saltash United FC and Saltash Rock Choir respectively, are recognised for supporting the foodbank
14th April 2021
By Suzanne Cleave
Saltash Foodbank has been supporting people experiencing financial crises since 2012, when it was set up with the Saltash Churches Together and the Trussell Trust.
The team works closely with the Trussell Trust to ensure they collect essential data about the people the foodbank supports with the help of its referral agencies, to aid the campaigning of that charity to ensure that there is no need for foodbanks in the future. One example of this is
Saltash Foodbank manager Rika Chanter said: “Since Saltash Foodbank started we have helped feed over 8,000 people in over 3,000 households, all with the help of many volunteers.
“We rely solely on public donations toward the food we distribute and to cover our running costs. We also get some items from supermarkets, such as end of day bread, eggs and vegetables as well as fresh produce donated by local farmers and growers.
“Generally the food we provide to the people we support is three days’ worth of food for a balanced diet, this is usually tinned or dried long shelf life items, for breakfasts, lunches and evening meals and some snacks.”
During the covid-19 epidemic, the foodbank team had to change the way it operates, they now cannot meet clients at the foodbank at 18 Belle Vue Road, as the limited space does not allow for safe social distancing for clients and volunteers.
Volunteers have been talking to people by phone to discuss their situation and any special diet requests or other items needed other than food, such as baby food, pet food and toiletries. Thereafter, the food is delivered to their door later on, either a Monday, Wednesday or Friday evening by one of the volunteers.
Rika added: “During the first year of the pandemic we have seen the numbers needing the foodbank for emergency food rise by 30 per cent and the greatest difference we have seen are the figures from February 2020 compared to this year’s numbers, which have risen by 80 per cent in numbers of people fed.
“There is no set reason people need the food bank, it could be an unexpected bill, paying off debts leaving a person short of money to pay for food, domestic violence or relationship breakdown, ill health, reduced income, starting a new job and many other reasons.
“As well as food, we would like to ensure the people we help, are supported by their referral agencies and if not then we can refer them on to other agencies we work with such as Citizens Advice Cornwall, and Christian Against Poverty, who currently have a debt advisor in Saltash.”
Saltash Foodbank has been able to support other charities with surplus food from time to time such as Shekinah, St Petroc's, Plymouth Soup Run, and other foodbanks in the area, and at times some other foodbanks have supported Saltash with their surplus food. They also work closely with Saltash Community Fridge and Larder at No 4 Fore Street with sharing surplus foods especially end of day foods from supermarkets and items just past their best before date that they receive.
Rika said: “These arrangements have ensured that people in need can get support and that food that has been donated is never wasted.
“We are supporting the local schools with their breakfast and after school clubs with food as well as well as supporting the families the school have identified as needing food parcels through our agency referral scheme which is now mainly done online through the Trussell Trust Database.
“Our experience over the past nine years has proved that any of us can suddenly find ourselves in dire need of help, support, advice and food. We also know that in times of crisis, people are often embarrassed to ask anyone for help, especially a foodbank. We would like to reassure everyone in the community that if they need us, we are here for them, and that we will never judge and that we will provide the food and support they need to help them through.”
To contact the foodbank you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 328 2124. The website is https://saltash.food bank.org.uk and their fundraising page can be accessed at https://saltash.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-money/
The foodbank also has a Facebook page. To check what items are currently needed, please check the website for the latest list of wanted items as well as items they currently do not need.