West Somerset Food Cupboard Newsletter, October 2023

Dear friends and supporters of the West Somerset Food Cupboard,

Thank you to all those local groups/churches/organisations who are currently donating Harvest Festival produce and proceeds to the Food Cupboard. We are very grateful for this opportunity to stock the shelves up for the winter months ahead. 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.

Our thanks also to Butlins, and in particular to Jonny, for rescuing food from the on-site supermarket during the floods and bringing it to the food cupboard to be shared rather than wasted. What a guy!

And we thank Gayle and Roy who kindly brought along their end-of-season ‘Homer-the festival’ shop stock for us to share too.

We continue to be grateful to all our local growers and producers who routinely share their produce with us at the Tuesday Pantry. This month Marshfield Allotment growers have joined our generous suppliers. If you’d like to see how we use the food that you grow for us, head to our Facebook page.

Apples of every kind have recently been shared out, including the fabulous Merchant of Ilminster variety grown in Porlock. And of course, Linda added even more value by creating a delicious apple and blackberry cake with some of our seasonal produce and teaching us all how to make it! (Recipe on our Facebook Page.) We also received lots of bread flour this month, so with the addition of some yeast that we were able to purchase, it was home-made bread rolls all round.

As well as local produce, our partnership with Fareshare South West means that we receive a delivery of supermarket surplus every Tuesday morning. They have advised recently that since the Pantry network started in Somerset, just two years ago, 115 tonnes of good supermarket surplus food has been diverted from landfill to local dinner tables in the county. Our Pantry membership is still at capacity, but we do have a rolling programme of 6 months per household and a waiting list for those waiting to participate in the project.

In September 2023, we distributed 125 emergency food parcels made up of donated food; a total of 1093 so far this year, compared with 865 this time last year. As well as at events like Harvest Festivals, food donation can be made at collection points all around the area. Our most recent new points are in the Minehead Co-op, and from November 1st in Allerford Post Office and Village Shop. Our grateful thanks go to all those who host collection points for us and who bring the donations to the Food Cupboard for sorting and packing, ready for distribution.

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

  • Tinned cold meat/ham
  • 1kg bags rice
  • Small tins baked beans (220g)
  • Individual custard pots
  • Individual fruit pots
  • Savoury snacks/crackers/crisps

Of course, none of the above happens without a team of willing volunteers, and ours are the best! A recent local charity event hosted by the Rotary Club of Minehead at the Avenue Methodist Church in early September, and a kind invitation from the Church of All Saints in Wootton Courtenay, resulted in a few new people joining the team, and we look forward to working with them in the coming weeks and months. As and when future volunteering opportunities arise we will let you know here, so watch this space!

Thank you all for all your continued support!

With best wishes from the West Somerset Food Cupboard team

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