West Somerset Food Cupboard Newsletter, September 2023

Dear friends and supporters of the West Somerset Food Cupboard

It was business as usual at the Pantry this Bank Holiday Monday, when the volunteer team spent the morning sorting the donated food and packing it ready for distribution during the week.

In August 2023, we and our partner organisations distributed 96 food parcels made up of donated non-perishable food; a total of 968 so far this year, compared with 741 this time last year. Here is our list of current shortages. Any help with these is appreciated, as always.

Any non-perishable food items are gratefully received. This month we would really appreciate:

  • Individual cold desserts
  • Individual juice cartons
  • Biscuits/sweet treats
  • Savoury crackers
  • Tinned hot dogs or meatballs
  • Tinned cold meat
  • Cup-a-soup

In the early Autumn term last year, we were very grateful for numerous Harvest collections of food in aid of the Food Cupboard, some of them a happy surprise to us. These were a huge help as they provided for many households well into the winter months. If an organisation that you are part of is planning a similar collection this year, we’d love to hear from you in advance, so that we can plan collection/delivery and storage etc. Thank you.

If you, or someone you know, faces a financially challenging Autumn/Winter, and you are not sure how you are going to make ends meet, do get in touch and we will be happy to talk through the best way to access our food parcels. We work closely with a wide range of local organisations who can help you with the challenges you face as well as providing food, and if/when those organisations can’t help, we will arrange a delivery ourselves. If you are worried about any stigma, please be assured that you are not alone, and sharing food is normal. One recent food parcel recipient kindly took some time to give some feedback. She wanted the thank the volunteer who delivered it, saying that although she had wanted to hide away because she felt ashamed… ‘we didn’t feel a bit like charity or made to feel ashamed in any way… thank you for allowing us to keep our dignity. Not only was there cereal, tea bags, sugar and tins of food , but a bar of chocolate which I have to say made me cry. Such a treat – and I wasn’t expecting that at all.’

The Tuesday Pantry has had a very green and abundant summer, not just thanks to our regular partner Fareshare South West, but to many local growers and producers including two from Minehead Farmers Market: fabulous eggs from Alison at Deane Barton Free Range Eggs, and lovely vegetables and flowers from Catherine at the Tivington Farm School. We are very grateful for these contributions and welcome any new offers from other local producers. Please bear in mind that we can only distribute fresh food on Tuesdays. If you wonder if your donations make any real difference, please hear it direct from one of our current members: ‘…coming to the pantry has really risen the quality of our lives and diet…The quality and amount of vegetables we’ve have had had made a massive difference. We have been able to enjoy vegetables we’ve had to cut from our diets due to the price increases and size decrease, marrows and courgettes, beetroot and cauliflower. So thank you.’

As well as a colourful array of produce, we were happy to host the team from the Centre for Sustainable Energy at the pantry this month. The were able to offer our members helpful advice about reducing household energy costs.
Our Pantry membership is still running at capacity, but we do have a rolling programme of 6 months per household and waiting list for those waiting to participate in the project.

And the cooking continues! This time Linda cooked up a delicious Gnocchi Provencal using that week’s pantry ingredients, for everyone to taste. Everyone went home with some ingredients, a new recipe and a bit of inspiration to get creative with whatever we have in the fridge.

Special thanks to Mike today, for all his help at the WSFC!

With best wishes from the West Somerset Food Cupboard team

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