West Somerset Food Cupboard Newsletter, March 2024

Dear friends and supporters of the West Somerset Food Cupboard,

Last week the Trussell Trust published new research revealing that 55% of people living on Universal Credit ran out of food in the last month and couldn’t afford more. Added to this, West Somerset has its own well-reported challenges leaving many in our community still experiencing ongoing food insecurity. With your help we are making a difference here! In February 2024, 113 emergency food parcels were distributed by the team and our local partners, making a total of 247 so far this year. We provide 3 different types of emergency food parcels, for different circumstances, and are finding that the ones designed for individuals in temporary (or no) accommodation with no cooking facilities are in increasing demand, hence this month’s small-portion quick-fix food list.

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

  • Individual juice cartons
  • Individual porridge pots
  • Individual custard pots
  • Individual fruit pots
  • Pot noodles
  • Mug shots
  • Cup-a-soups
  • Tinned cold meat

Asking for help is hard, especially when the circumstances that led you to need help were out of your control. But with the generosity of donors and the kindness of volunteers, the team here is able to meet basic food needs while showing care and respect. We work hard to facilitate engagement with other support services, as we are just one small piece of the local support jigsaw. Our food donation points around the community are critical to keeping the supply coming so that we can meet the need, so if you host one, thank you! Our newest food donation organiser is Amanda-Louise Funeral Services where all are welcome to a coffee morning at the Blenheim Road office on the first Friday of every month, and are encouraged to bring along an item of food to donate. If you are able to support the Food Cupboard financially, please see the donate page.

The Tuesday Pantry continues to run at 40-member capacity, with a waiting list of households looking forward to accessing affordable food whilst preventing waste. Membership lasts for six months. We are always looking for new sources of surplus food to share amongst the Pantry members, so please get in touch if you can help us with this, so we can work together to redirect good food away from landfill and onto local dinner tables. Eggs recently donated by local farmers were distributed at the Pantry on Pancake day, along with flour, lemons and a recipe, all of which made for a flippin’ happy tea time!

As I leave my role at the end of the month and this is my final newsletter, it’s goodbye from me. Thank you for reading every month and following the progress of this community project over the past few years. I’m grateful to the PCC of St. Michael the Archangel for trusting me in 2020 to take forward the work they began back in 2007 and which Chrissie, Tina and Ann had in turn co-ordinated so well. And to the Trustee Board of the West Somerset Food Cupboard charity, established in 2022, for their willingness to support the growth and development of the services we now provide in response to the post-pandemic cost-of-living-crisis need. To all the donors and partner organisations we have worked with and been supported by along the way, many thanks to you also. And especially to the lovely team of volunteers that I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside. The many quiet acts of selflessness and compassion that I have witnessed in this role have been incredibly heart-warming. Yes, there is still great need in this area, but there are also very many kind hearts.

Clare Walsh will be taking over from me at the end of March, ably assisted by Cally Elston – contact details for them remain as below. So, with the fabulous volunteers still doing what they so generously do each week too, the continuation of the West Somerset Food Cupboard’s services will be in safe hands while the Trustees review the work of the charity and decide what next.

With thanks and very best wishes, Ali x

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