Foodbank Appeal

Hard times can strike any of us, no one is immune. The onset of illness meaning you can no longer work; the death of the household breadwinner; a company ‘downsizes’ or folds with the loss your job; your main clients go bust and your business goes under but you still have to pay your creditors; your pension stretches less and less each year until it can longer cover your day to day costs.

These things can happen to anyone and from living a moderately comfortable life, in a very short time they become dependent on the goodwill of others. It’s at times like these we, as decent human beings, rally to the aid of those who, through no fault of their own, find themselves between a rock and a very hard place indeed. Unlikely as it seems in the UK, the 6th largest economy in the world, we find some people are now finding themselves in such a dire situation that at times they cannot afford to buy food! A survey conducted in 2012 by YouGov found that 48% of teachers said that they regularly witnessed pupils in their school who were suffering from malnutrition. Recent reports show that year on year malnourishment is rapidly increasing across the UK; our Island is no exception to this trend.

The fact is that this also affects people who are working, and working hard. Occasionally the financial strain is just too much and the only choice left is to forgo the weekly food shop; it might be okay for parents to ‘fast’ for a few days, but what about the children? The National Child Measurement Programme determined that 11,317 children in the United Kingdom were classed as underweight in 2010, the situation is not improving.

We have a charitable organisation on our Island which runs a foodbank, staffed by volunteers. Its main purpose is to provide assistance in those times of desperate need. The Foodbank will provide up to three days of emergency food supplies ensuring that in a crisis, Island families do not have to go hungry. The Foodbank is not a long-term solution to this problem, nor is it a ‘free shop’ for those on a restricted income. If a family is identified as having issues which cause persistent food shortages, they will be referred to agencies which can give them the proper long-term help and assistance they need to get back on their feet.

The Foodbank is dependent on the kindness of others and we ask those who are able, to make contributions of food – just one tin a week can make a difference. If you feel more comfortable making a monetary donation, any amount is welcome. The Foodbank also collects clothing you may no longer want or need.

Our local donation points are inside St Mary’s Church in Brighstone, and St Peter’s in Shorwell. You do not have to attend services to contribute, you can drop off your donations whenever the church doors are open (usually in daylight hours). Last year the Foodbank helped 5,500 people on the Island and 1 million people in the UK!

As the food items have to be stored, we cannot accept fresh or frozen produce, so canned, bottled or dry goods (pasta, flour, rice etc.) only please. The Foodbank is very low on sugar, coffee, sponge pudding, long-life fruit juice and custard. Sponge puddings have been classed as an essential part of the dietary requirement by the Tressel Trust and they would really appreciate more of these please.

Your local Foodbank representatives are Linda Edge for St Mary’s Brighstone and Mike Reuben for St Peter’s Shorwell, and they can be contacted through the church office, [email protected] or 07474987683. Many thanks, Mike and Linda.