Staff from Norfolk’s community-based NHS Trust have recently been buying a little extra during their weekly shop and collecting together unwanted food supplies from home in order to help local families in need.
After encouraging colleagues to raid their cupboards over the last few weeks and to bring in any spare non-perishables, staff from Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust (NCH&C) on June 14 2013 handed over a sizable donation to the Norwich Foodbank. The charity provides emergency food supplies to vulnerable people in and around the city.
The trolley-full of tins, cartons, and packets donated by NCH&C’s staff included beans, soup, cereal, pasta, tomatoes, fruit, sugar, instant mashed potato, UHT milk, and toiletries.
The load weighed-in at a staggering 64kgs, which is enough to fill food boxes to feed three local families (two adults and two children) for three days each.
The collection was the brainchild of HR Assistant Michelle Hanke, who came up with the idea after noticing how some food had gone to waste following a fridge clear-out at work. She then called on her colleagues at NCH&C’s headquarters, in Norwich, to make best use of food and to donate to the collection.
Michelle said: “I wanted to get involved and see if we could make a positive difference to local families and people in need. It tugs at the heartstrings to hear that there is a considerable number of children living in poverty in our local area. It’s easy to take the food we have in our fridges and cupboards for granted and forget that lots of people don’t have this very basic need met.
“I’d heard about the foodbank and how it helps local communities, so I thought it was an ideal time to get involved. I called upon my colleagues to give what they could and they really pulled out all the stops!
“I’m really pleased by how much we were able to gather together and I’ll be doing all I can to pull together more donations in the future. I’ve also been spurred on by our success in Norwich, so will now be looking to set up similar collection points at our Trust’s other sites across the county.”
Grant Habershon, Project Manager of Norwich Foodbank, said: “We are really grateful for the generous donation from NCH&C’s staff, which will make a big difference to local people.”
He also explained that the Norwich Foodbank continues to welcome donations, as demand is growing. “The Campaign to End Child Poverty produced a report earlier this year which named Norwich as the authority has the highest percentage of children in poverty in the East of England, which is really concerning,” said Grant.
“On average, we have provided three-days-worth of food to 20 people every day this year, which is about 600 people every month, and the trends suggest that this number may increase”.
“We can only meet this need if the local community continue to donate as much as they can because, whether it is a tin of tomatoes or a whole trolley-load of food, these donations really add up and can make a big difference to local people in need.”
How Norwich Foodbank works
- Non-perishable food is donated by the public
- Volunteers sort and pack donations into food boxes
- Partners from care agencies assess people’s needs and provide suitable people with vouchers
- Vouchers can be exchanged for food at Foodbank distribution centres
- People are also offered advice on other services available locally
For more information and to get involved, go to: www.norwichfoodbank.co.uk
Foodbanks are also based in Cromer, King’s Lynn, Thetford, and mid-Norfolk.