Cambridge City Foodbank opened in 2010 and helps local people, providing three days’ worth of nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to those who are referred to them in crisis. With Christmas just around the corner, the Foodbank has launched its Christmas Hamper Collection and hopes to make up 500 hampers of quality food and products to give to families who are struggling to make ends meet.
Contributing to this couldn’t be easier. Go on to the Foodbank website (details at the end of this post), register and choose one of the two hamper drop off dates. This helps the Foodbank team with their logistical planning. Then fill a good sized carrier bag with items from their list of suggestions. Don’t add in any perishable or home made food and please make sure all items have a use by date of 25 December or later. Then simply drop off your bag of goodies at the Foodbank warehouse in your registered drop-off slot.
The Foodbank is, of course, supporting local people year round. Jon Edney, Foodbank Co-ordinator, tells me that from April to September this year, there’s been a 13% increase nationally in people using foodbanks. Here in Cambridge, the figure is a 46% increase during that period, compared to the same period last year, so the need is huge.
People can find themselves in crisis at any time for a multitude of reasons. The Foodbank works on a voucher referral system with vouchers being issued by agencies such as Citizens Advice, housing support officers, children’s centres, health visitors, social services and some local charities. Agencies can also help with longer term support to address issues behind the reasons for crisis. You can exchange your voucher at your nearest Foodbank centre in the city where you’ll find a warm welcome and a chance to chat with trained volunteers.
The Christmas hamper distribution arrangements are different; they are distributed through family centres rather than through the Foodbank centres. If you are not already connected with any of the referring agencies mentioned in the paragraph above, then you can make contact about the possibility of receiving a Christmas hamper through the C3 Church at Coldham’s Lane.
With the enormous increase in Foodbank use, there’s a constant need for food donations throughout the year, with collection points in supermarkets city-wide. The Foodbank website has a list of urgently needed food items which you can also drop off at their food collection points. Financial donations of any size, given either regularly or as one-offs, help this vital work to continue. And maybe you could give your time …. why not consider joining the volunteer group of around 140 people who work in all sorts of roles and are the life blood of the organisation.
For more information about the work of Cambridge City Foodbank as well as details of how to get help and how to give help, check out their website.