Donations of food and money to Thanet Food Link have dropped amid the cost of living crisis but demand has more than doubled.
The food bank project which operates from St Paul’s Church in Cliftonville and – since the pandemic – St Peters Baptist Church thanks to resident Kate Grant, has gone from distributing around 300-500 food parcels a month to giving out around 1,000 – the same number as during the first covid 19 lockdown.
But as everyone feels the current squeeze from rising bills, donations to the vital service have become depleted.
A welcome boost has come from a £2000 cheque presented to the St Peter’s team by Broadstairs mayor Cllr Kristian Bright and his wife and Mayor’s Consort Cllr Joanna Bright.
The couple attended the Thanet Food Link base at St Peter’s Baptist Church to hand over the cheque from KCC’s Cost of Living Grant scheme.
Cllr Kristian Bright, who became the town mayor in May following the local elections, had pledged in his acceptance speech to take: “a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a positive difference to the lives of our neighbours.”
In that speech he noted: “For every person enjoying a Michelin-star quality meal at one of our ground-breaking restaurants, there’ll be parents going hungry because they can’t afford to feed their children and eat as well.”
Deputy Mayor Cllr Mike Garner, who is a volunteer at the Food Link, explained the need for the organisation and the service it provides: “The cost-of-living crisis is having a detrimental effect on families’ ability to provide sufficient nutritious food. “Although often perceived as an affluent town, pockets of deprivation exist in Broadstairs, and children are regularly going to school hungry. The problem worsens during school holidays when free school meals are not available.”
Thanet Food Link is ideally placed to address this need with established procedures which successfully plug the gap and enable families to eat properly.
St Peter’s Branch Co-ordinator, Kate Grant said: “Although much of the food given out by the Food Link is donated by members of the public, donations have dropped off recently due to everyone experiencing a ‘squeeze.’
“The Food Link will use the cash donations it receives, when necessary, but these are becoming depleted. A food parcel costs around £10 and each is tailored to the needs of children, teens or adults.
“We are thrilled to accept this grant which will provide a fantastic 200 food parcels and we would like to thank both KCC and BSPTC for applying on our behalf.”
Thanet Food Link was set up in 2013 and aimed at ‘helping people out’ for a few years. However, in May it marked its 10th anniversary.
The organisation was started by the late Paul Trumble with a vision of helping those out who were struggling. But the short-term solution became a long-term project, particularly as the covid pandemic hit in 2020 followed by the current cost of living crisis.
It became a charity in 2016 and takes referrals from agencies working with people in need including children’s centres, support agencies, schools, associations supporting disabled people, community centres and NHS Health Trainers as well as enquiries from those in need.
TFL had given out close to 40,000 parcels in 10 years.
After registering, the charity provides a minimum of three days emergency food.
The easiest way to register is to come to one of the sites below during distribution times:
St Pauls Church, Cliftonville CT9 2RD
Monday 10.30am – 12 noon
Tuesday 10.30am – 12 noon
Thursday 10.30am – 12 noon
St Peters Baptist Church CT10 2SG
Friday 10.30am – 12 noon
People can donate food, money or time as a volunteer:
Find out more at https://thanetfoodlink.org.uk/getting-help