FoodBank Update

 

 
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Hello and welcome to the first of our quarterly newsletters aimed at promoting the work of the foodbank and keeping you updated with what we are doing. 

As you will see from the statistics below the Foodbank continues to offer an essential service to those experiencing food poverty in East Lothian and it would appear that, sadly, we will be needed for the foreseeable future. 

Partnerships with referral agencies and other bodies continue to be very important to us.  We are very grateful indeed for the time and support offered by our supporters and volunteers and we note with gratitude the large network of individuals, community groups and churches who donate items of food. We couldn't do what we do with out you. 

We look forward to your continued support and welcome your feedback.

Anne Dyer, Chair

Read on to find out what's been going on...and please do share with other members of your network. 
 
Emergency food supply use jumps in August
August 2017 was our busiest month ever with 226 referrals fulfilled. This was a significant jump compared to July when 128 parcels were fulfilled and nearly a 50% increase compared to August last year. More detailed statistics for 12-months to end of August 2017 can be found here.
This increase in need echoes what we saw in our end of year statistics in April 2017 which showed there was a 37% increase in the number of emergency food supply packages handed out between April 2016 and March this year, compared to the same period in 2015-16.
 

August 2017 Statistics 

  • 226 3-day emergency food parcels given out, including
    • 104 single parcels
    • 55 single parent with child parcels
    • 33 family parcels
    • 24 couple parcels 
  • 476 people fed
    • 175 children fed
  • 3,640 kgs of food given out
  • 1,256 kgs food donated
If you would like more information regarding these statistics please contact us directly at the foodbank.
 

Reasons for referrals 
Over the last year 4176 people were affected by food crises and were helped by food parcels from us. The top three reasons for referrals were: 

- refused crisis grant (30%)
- benefit delays (20%)
- benefit changes (20%)

This is reflected in the monthly figures where these 3 crisis types remain the top 3 reasons that people are referred to us. In August over a third of those referred to us had been refused a crisis grant whilst benefit changes and benefit delays combined accounted for another third of referrals (36%). During August nearly a third of referrals received were from the Scottish Welfare Fund (32%), the other major source of referrals in August were Musselburgh Citizen's Advice Bureau and East Lothian Council Children's Wellbeing team. Musselburgh and Preston/Seton/Gosford wards had the highest number of referrals with 36% and 23% respectively. Nearly half the parcels given out were for 1 person (46%), whilst families made up 39% of the parcels. Figures for the 12 months up to and including 31st August 2017 can be found here.
 
Thanks for thinking of us
We've had quite a few visitors to the foodbank so far this year including members of local guiding units, scouting packs, pupils and teachers from local nurseries and schools, members of East Linton Pix in the Stix to name just a few. Everyone brought very much needed donations with them for which we are very grateful. Our most recent visitors included members of Cockenzie Star Football Club who brought in a fantastic donation of 63.2kgs of food, and pupils from Belhaven Hill School who brought 54.5kg. 
huge thanks to everyone who supported us. 

Masterchef foodbank style

The start of the year saw Guides from across the county working with us to plan, and cook, a tasty nutritious two-course meal using ingredients from a standard single parcel. The variety of dishes was amazing and all the dishes in the final were delicious. To read more and find out who won click here. Our hope is to run this competition with GirlGuiding East Lothian every two years. 

 

Can you help us harvest our 5-a-day portions?

We've been very lucky in past years to be the recipients of many harvest collections from schools, churches, nurseries and local community groups. If you're collecting for us again this year we are wondering if you can help us with our 5-a-day appeal?

We try and ensure all our food parcels include 5 portions of fruit and vegetable for each day (parcels supply 3-days worth of food). So this harvest we are asking for donations of : 
- tinned fruit/fruitpots
- long-life fruit juice
- tinned veg
- baked beans
- pasta sauce

Please help and be our harvest heroes!

 
The foodbank gets fresh
Earlier this year we launched our Get Fresh bonus bags courtesy of a grant from BeGreen Dunbar, funded in its entirety by Community Windpower, the operators of Aikengall Wind Farm. Read more here. This one-off donation of £8000 is being spent exclusively on items of perishable food items that we have never before been able to supply. 
Each bonus bag contains fresh milk, cheese, butter, bread, apples, and a selection of seasonal vegetables from Roots and Fruits.  So far we've given out nearly 300 bags of fresh food to accompany our standard parcels. That means we've given out 300kg of potatos, 900 carrots, over 1000 apples and a variety of other fresh produce including cabbages, lettuces, broccoli, peppers, chillis, mushrooms, onions and peas since we started back in May. 
Feedback has shown that the additional fresh food items have been very gratefully received with many recipients stating they were the most important item in their food parcel. We are currently investigating alternative sources of income to continue these after our BeGreen funds run out. 
 

Supporting activities round the county
We've been working with other organisations across the county this year to support them in their activities to address food poverty and prevent those in need going hungry by donating food items that they can use. These include holiday lunch clubs, school breakfast clubs, and other charities providing meals across the county.  
One such activity was the summer lunch clubs run by Preston/Seton and Gosford Support from the Start group. Their lunch club ran for 3 days a week for 5 weeks over the summer holidays and provided 
- 480 lunches and snacks
- 200 breakfasts
In addition 50 food parcels over 5 weeks were given with recipes for soup, pasta sauce and a basic tinned and fresh bag of groceries on the last day.

 
Helping alleviate period poverty
In May this year we updated our referral form to include a request for sanitary products. (If you're a referral agency and are still using the old form please get in touch.)
However, as we know from experience that sometimes people are too embarrassed to ask for sanitary products we make sure we offer them when speaking to those we are helping and we include them in all parcels where we think they may be needed. Since May we've given out in excess of 200 sanitary product parcels.   
 
 

Over 8000kgs donated by Tesco customers
If you've been in the foodbank before and after a Tesco collection you'll know what a huge difference it makes to us. Our shelves may have been looking a wee bit empty at the start of July but thanks to a fantastic day collecting in the three East Lothian stores we started August with plenty of stock to fill parcels for what turned out to be our busiest month ever.

This year Tesco customers have donated over 8000kg through our collections and our permanent collection points in the North Berwick and Musselburgh stores.

Thanks again to everyone who has helped in the stores, the Tesco customers who have donated and the Tesco staff who are always there with a smile and helping hand. Our next Tesco collection will be on Thursday 30th November - Saturday 2nd December. Please let us know if you would like to help. 

Do you know that when we do a Tesco collection, that Tesco top-up the donations by 20% with a monetary donation?
The monetary donation is based on an estimated value of the food donated calculated by the Trussell Trust. This means that from our Christmas 2016 collection we received an additional donation of £2,427.43 from Tesco and are expecting in the region of £900 from our May collection day. Great news! 

 
Coop customers come up trumps 
We were lucky enough to be chosen for the Coop Local Community Fund earlier this year and Coop members helped us raise a whopping £1,448.78 which will go towards our "home starter pack" project...look out for more information on this soon. 
In addition our Co-op collection points were in store at Dunbar High Street, Gifford, Haddington, North Berwick, Ormiston, Port Seton, Prestonpans and Tranent during June. A massive 275kg was collected. Brilliant!