The Dean of Canterbury today praised the volunteers at the district’s food bank for keeping a ‘vital lifeline’ open during the Coronavirus crisis.
Canterbury Food Bank has distributed 25,000 meals to people in financial need since the lockdown began in March.
The charity has seen a huge year-on-year spike in demand in the worsening recession and expects this to continue throughout the autumn.
Today the Dean, the Very Revd Dr Robert Willis, said many families and children would have suffered greatly if the food bank’s services had not been there.
The Dean, who is Patron of the charity, urged people to contact it if they can not afford food, adding: “Do not be afraid to ask for help.”
He said: “The Coronavirus pandemic has affected people financially and many of them may not have been in this position before.
“What we are going through is unprecedented in our lifetime and no-one is invulnerable to the current crisis.
“If people can not afford food they should not be afraid to ask for assistance. It’s why Canterbury Food Bank is there.
“The charity has provided a vital lifeline for the past few months, distributing an extraordinary amount of meals to people in need.
“Without its invaluable volunteers it would be unable to do the work that it has done throughout this year’s pandemic. Many people would have suffered greatly as a result.”
CFB suffered a drop in food donations at the start of the lockdown as millions stayed at home and the charity launched a cash appeal to combat this.
Nearly 500 people made donations and there was also financial help from a wide variety of organisations in the area.
The need for social distancing also caused the closure of CFB’s drop-in cafes in the district, so volunteers are now delivering food parcels directly to those in need.
The independent charity provides emergency three-day food parcels to individuals and families in financial need across Canterbury, Whitstable, Herne Bay and surrounding villages.
It has donation baskets in all leading supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons, where people can leave dried or tinned food items.
Anyone who can not afford to buy food can make contact via https://canterburyfoodbank.org or by ringing 01227 936450.
Canterbury Food Bank Facts and Figures
The Canterbury Food Bank voucher network includes:
- Age UK
- British Red Cross
- Canterbury City Council
- Canterbury Debt Advice Centre
- Catching Lives
- Children’s Centres
- Christians Against Poverty
- Citizens Advice
- Community Centres
- Early Help
- Forward Trust
- Health Visitors
- Housing Associations
- Primary Schools via Family Liaison Officers
- Probation Services
- Rising Sun
- Royal British Legion
- Salvation Army
- Social Services
- Canterbury Food Bank CIO is a registered charity (Charity No. 1153791)
- Over the past year more than 1500 individuals from the Canterbury District (Canterbury, Whitstable, Herne Bay) have been assisted by Canterbury Food Bank
- Annual increases:
- 10.3% increase in the number of vouchers issued
- 12.5% increase in the number of parcels issued
- Equates to
- 3,700 food parcels
- Over 33,400 meals,
- It costs more than £70,000 a year to run Canterbury Food Bank
- More than 115 volunteers support Canterbury Food Bank on a regular basis equating to more than 16,500 volunteer hours
- Over the past year the public donated in excess of 90,000 items of tinned food, dried food, fruit juices and milk for distribution
- The Charity supports an after-school homework club operated by a local organisation based in a deprived area. Food and funding is provided for the evening meal given to the children attending the homework club
- Canterbury Food Bank has three, part-time, paid employees
- Food Vouchers are issued by third-party organisations including: Citizens Advice Bureau, Canterbury Debt Advice Centre, Christians Against Poverty, Churches, NHS, Salvation Army
- Canterbury Food Bank is grateful to the following supermarkets in the district for their support by enabling food to be donated at their premises: Asda, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Morrison’s, Tesco and Co-op.