August 2019 -2020
The statistics below show how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted our food bank. Compared with last year, we delivered food to more than double the number of households:-
- We supported 113 households in total, which equates to 302 people… 175 adults an 127 children
- Our Holiday Hunger project supported 15 vulnerable families through the summer holiday period… 26 adults and 30 children.
Prior to the Covid-19 lockdown, we were able to welcome children from local primary schools for educational visits and sixth-year students from Graham High working towards their BB Queen’s Badge. We also provided volunteering opportunities for people in our community who had been out of work for a while and who needed work experience and confidence-building skills to enable them to move back into employment/further study. One of our volunteers is now studying at university! We hope to work with CVS in the future in providing more “Back to Work” volunteer opportunities.
Normally we run a 6 week food programme where referred households receive a weekly food parcel along with a toiletries and household parcel on weeks 3 and 6. Due to us being a small food bank, we can only accept up to 10 referrals at any given time. At the start of lockdown we were were inundated with referrals and struggling to access surplus food from Tesco and Aldi due to panic buying and we were unable to bulk-buy as everyone was restricted to buying only 3 of each item.
Shutting the food bank was never an option! We put out a Facebook post asking the Braes community if they could all donate even 1 item from our list and leave their donation at our collection point in the Laurieston Co-op. What an overwhelming response we got… food, toiletries and household items! The Post Office in Maddiston also set up a collection point for us in their shop and a 10 year old girl set up yet another collection point for us in her garden! The Braes community really got involved.
Referrals came from: –
- Falkirk Council Support for People – 42
- Maddiston Family Centre – 16
- Health Visitors – 13
- Primary and Secondary schools – 10
- Social Work – 9
- Citizens Advice Bureau – 8
- Councillors – 3
- Homeless charity – 3
- Other food banks – 3
- Department for Work and Pensions – 2
- Church – 1
- Women’s Aid – 1
- Grangemouth Hub – 1
- Maddiston Community Council – 1
We quickly had to change how we operated in order to help as many households as possible. We stopped our 6 week food delivery programme and started preparing substantial emergency food bags along with toiletries and household items too, with top-ups offered every 2/3 weeks. We were delivering food 6 days a week for the first 8 weeks with only 2 volunteers, as the room we are based in was too small to social distance safely, plus some of our volunteers were shielding or were home-schooling children. It was a challenging time but we managed to support 80 households during lockdown and many of these households came back multiple times for top-ups.
Once the panic buying subsided we were again able to receive surplus food from Tesco and Aldi as well as the weekly delivery of food from Fareshare, which we buy in. Falkirk Council ran an emergency food programme for the 4 months of lockdown enabling us to receive free food, toiletries and household items every Wednesday afternoon. This extra food, especially the frozen food, made such a difference to us.
Donations at our 3 collection points continued to pour in throughout lockdown.
As lockdown restrictions eased we were able to resume our usual 6 week food delivery programme, operating on a Monday and Tuesday with our wonderful team of 12 volunteers. New funding allowed us to install more efficient fridges and additional freezers plus we have been able to extend the food bank to 3 times its original size. This enables us to house more food as well as social distance safely during COVID-19.
We fully expect the number of referrals to start to increase again over the later part of 2020 due to job losses plus a potential second wave of COVID-19. We have been stocking up our shelves in preparation for this and will be training up some new volunteers.