A Thanet food bank service which has seen a huge rise in demand during the Covid pandemic has been given a boost by the Margate branch of Morrisons supermarket.
Thanet Food Link operates from St Paul’s Church in Cliftonville every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 10.30am – 12 noon. People need to bring a voucher (now obtainable from St Paul’s Church if you can’t get one elsewhere) to obtain a food parcel and distribution is by minimal personal contact.
Before the pandemic the charity was giving out around 130 food parcels a month. However, this month just one morning session resulted in 76 parcels being handed to families and individuals in need.
Thanet Food Link chairperson Debbie Ellisdon said: “I have been running Thanet Food Link since 2013 and we have never given out so much food.
“In one week we gave out than we gave out in the whole of February. One session of one and a half hours there were 56 parcels handed out. When you consider that each parcel contains 16 items of food a total of 896 items of non-perishable food in 1.5 hours is a huge demand us.”
Morrisons is one of the organisations that have stepped up to the plate to help. In addition to weeks of donations the supermarket has given the food service a 15% discount and two £40 vouchers, taking a £220 down to £106.
Donations include around two trolleys of food every week.
Food link volunteer David O’Connor. said: “They have really been superb, particularly Lorraine Holden who not helps pack my car but organises the donations. Morrisons has even driven food over to our warehouse and they have donated to other charities as well.”
The pandemic has resulted in huge pressures on all the isle’s foodbanks. Last month The Isle of Thanet News reported shortages of stock and a fourfold increase on services in Ramsgate.
Earlier this week we also revealed that Ramsgate Town Council is forking out £10,000 per month to keep a vital food hub and distribution network running despite receiving no official funding towards its work
Other community organisations working to make sure people have food include Sharon Goodyer from Our Kitchen on the Isle of Thanet, the Salvation Army, The Gap – Broadstairs, St Austin & St Gregory’s Margate as well as dozens of individuals.
Thanet District Council has also been acting as the hub for incoming requests, referrals are sent to GloGen and to Age UK, who are working as a first line response delivering food parcels and meals.
A surge in reliance on food parcels has been experienced across Kent’s poorer communities and places where universal credit applications have risen, including in Thanet.