WHILST OUR CHURCHES ARE CLOSED, PLEASE LEAVE YOUR FOODBANK DONATIONS AT JANET DAVIES (HUNNABALL), 233 HIGH STREET, KELVEDON.
Please see the latest Foodbank news and shopping lists below. The foodbank are also very grateful for strong carrier bags. Thank you for your support.
25TH MARCH 2020 - COVID-19 UPDATE REGARDING BRAINTREE AREA FOODBANK DONATIONS
As you are no longer able to leave donations at our Churches, now they are closed to all,
please take them to Janet Davies (Hunnaball) 233 High Street Kelvedon.
If you wish to show that the donation has come from St Mary's Church please include a form in each bag. Please find below a semi-completed form to this email for donations from St Mary's and a non-completed form so that you can attribute your donation to All Saints.
Thank you for all of your generosity.
25TH MARCH 2020 - EMAIL FROM VIVIEN SALTER AT BRAINTREE FOODBANK
We are so very grateful for all your support over the last eight years.
I am writing to you at this challenging and uncertain time to ask for your further support as our food bank works hard to maintain the provision of emergency food to people in crisis.
Ultimately, we want to see a UK where food banks are no longer needed, but as things stand our food bank is providing an essential service for people who have nowhere else to turn to for support. We are doing all we can to ensure that we continue to do so at this time.
Churches like yours are crucial to the work of our food bank and we are hugely grateful for the generous support you provide. As key partners in our work, I want to share with you the specific challenges we are facing as a result of the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19):
· A significant proportion of our volunteers are older people, many of whom are now not able to volunteer because they are in higher risk groups.
· Many of the people who need to use our food banks have health issues and so may be needing to self-isolate or comply most strictly with social distancing guidelines.
· Maintaining food stocks at a time when many people are going out less or are more urgently focussed on providing for their own households. Particularly, as churches and businesses, who donate a large proportion of our food, are closed. Also, many of our permanent collection points are also closed.
· Potential for increased demand where workers are being laid off or shifts reduced due to impact on businesses.
We know that, like us, you will be concerned to protect the health of our community by taking steps to reduce the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). At the same time, we know you will share our belief that those who have the least resources to cope with this crisis must not be forgotten at this time.
As we respond, it would help us tremendously if you could urgently encourage your church to support us in the following ways, as appropriate:
· Volunteering: We
urgently need people – between the ages of 18-69 – to give time to keep our food bank running. This could include sorting donations, packing boxes in the warehouse or giving out food parcels at
our distribution centres. We make this appeal particularly to churches with younger congregations, who may have members who find themselves more available to volunteer during the week than
usual. Anyone wishing to volunteer should e-mail me at email@example.com.
· Food supplies: Please encourage people to continue donating non-perishable food and money to food banks at this time and over the coming months (if they can find a donation point as many are now closed). Some churches have been creative and set up drop off points – for example one house where food can be left in a porch between certain times. The person receiving the food would need to be able to bring it to our warehouse. We still have stocks in our warehouse but in March we gave out four times as much food as we collected and the situation will only get worse. We have reviewed our donations for April-June 2019, and it seems likely during the same quarter this year we will have a deficit of 6.6 tonnes of donations, with an estimated value of £12,567.
· Financial donations: People who would like to donate money should send us a cheque payable to Braintree Area Foodbank Ltd. As you will see from our website your Wonderful online giving platform has closed and it will take time for us to find a new provider. Individuals who would like to donate on a regular basis can download a standing order form from our website (they should go to Give Help, Donate Money where they will see a link to the form) which has bank details for them to complete.
· Transport: At the present moment we are not planning on delivery food to clients. Our wonderful team of drivers and our van will be out and about as usual.
· Church buildings: All of our food bank distribution centres are based in local churches and we are pleased that we will be able to continue a reduced service at:
Christ Church in Braintree: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 10am to 12noon
St Andrew’s Church in Halstead: Monday 10am to 12noon
Witham Methodist Church: Friday 10am to 12noon
Centres will be set up in ways to minimise contact between clients and volunteers. We will not be offering our usual tea/coffee and biscuits or our signposting services.
· Prayer: We know there are many people who want to help practically but cannot because they are rightly taking measures to protect themselves and other people. We would encourage everyone to get involved by praying: suggested prayer points are outlined below.
You can visit our website at www.braintreearea.foodbank.
Through our partnership with the Trussell Trust we are also urging the government to take steps to protect those who are particularly financially vulnerable at this time. This includes advocating for an end to the five week wait for a first Universal Credit payment; increasing child benefit payments immediately to allow parents to cover the additional cost of food (especially for those receiving free school meals) and childcare resulting from school closures; and ensuring that people are able to access local crisis grants easily and promptly, enabling them to purchase their own food and essentials.
If you would like to pray or lead others in prayer in support of our work at this time, some pointers for prayer – in addition to the topics above – would include:
1. Many people who need to use food banks have exhausted support from family and friends and have nowhere else to turn. Pray for those who are isolated and afraid, that they would experience comfort and connection and be able to access the material provision they need.
2. Our food bank will be adapting to different ways of working in order to operate safely and will be welcoming new volunteers at this time. Pray for strength, wisdom and health for volunteers and staff providing food banks and other essential services in our community.
3. Leaders of all kinds – locally and nationally – are making difficult decisions in a fast-changing environment about how to protect and provide for people, including regarding food and money. Pray for clarity and insight for government, business, church, charity, and statutory sector leaders as they navigate these decisions together.
Thank you in advance for standing with us. We really appreciate your continued support at what I know is a testing time, and if there are ways that we can assist with your own efforts to respond please do let me know.
I know that many churches have set up e-mail and other groups to keep their members in touch. Do feel free to share this message with your congregation in this way.
As you know church donations account for approximately 36% of the food donated to us. We would certainly struggle to feed our clients without your donations. Over the last three years our donor churches have proved very loyal. When we started foodbank we did wonder whether contributions would tail off as time went on but that has not been the case, in fact new church donors have started collecting.
There are other ways to support us in addition to providing food. Whilst all the food is donated we do have other expenses we have to cover, transport costs, administration and printing, postage, warehouse costs and, of course, we now have to pay rent on our warehouse. It currently costs us something over £2,500 per month to cover these expenses. The foodbank actively seeks as much grant aid as we can get but in many cases grants have provisions which means we have to provide some of the money from our own resources.
About 2½ years ago we set up a Supporters’ Group to enable people who wanted to give us financial support (in addition to or instead of food donations) to help us on a regular basis. We have not really promoted this widely but feel that now is the right time to make others aware of the group.
The Foodbank still welcomes monetary donations - these can be made online at https://www.charitychoice.co.uk/braintreeareafoodbank .
If online is a problem then please give cash (preferably in an envelope marked Foodbank) to either Caroline Strange or a churchwarden. Caroline is usually on the organ bench most Sundays or you can pop your envelope through her door at 58 High Street (we are not quite opposite the Labour Club). Please write your name and a means of contacting you on the envelope so that I can let you know when I have made an online donation on your behalf.