Cobham Area Foodbank Manager’s report November 2020

9th November 2020

These are turbulent times: Coronavirus, USA elections and another lockdown.

How are we doing at Cobham Area Foodbank?

Firstly I would like to say ‘Thank You’ to all the supporters, generous donors of money, small and large gifts of all kinds, and for the help offered and given by so many.

For those loving statistics:

  • In 2019 we fed 2,885 adults and children.
  • So far in 2020 we have fed 3,532 adults and children.

We continue to receive generous donations of food from both the public and supermarkets:

  • Food donations received last month (October): 3621.92 Kg
  • Food distributed to clients last month (October): 3264.30 Kg

Quite amazing – since we started in December 2013 we have collected and distributed almost 150 tonnes of food!

We are grateful to all the agencies helping with identifying the people in need and supplying the vouchers for a distribution of food, to name but a few: Cobham Centre for the Community, PA Housing, Citizens Advice Esher & District, Weybridge Job Centre Plus and a special thank you to Oasis who kindly share fresh food items with us to pass on to our clients. Many more agencies are involved to make sure that people in our area in need are well looked after.

There have been many new initiatives since the end of July, when I took over the management role of the Foodbank. We have received face masks, cheques and many other private donations. More recently, Harvest Festival and Reverse Advent collections – thank you all for organising and gathering such large quantities of food items and other goodies. We have also received Advent Calendars, Christmas decorations and children’s toys to make this Christmas a happy one for our families in the area, despite all the doom and gloom around at this time.  We are able to make some nice gift bags for our clients to share some cheerfulness for Christmas.

How are we doing at the Foodbank during lockdown?

We are open as usual, Tuesdays from 12 noon to 1.30 pm at Cobham United Church, 38 Stoke Road, Cobham KT11 3BD.

We are grateful to Cobham United Church for hosting us and helping us adapt to the Coronavirus changes. There are tight rules and restrictions at the foodbank, as everywhere around us currently. We help up to 25 families each week which means 80-100 adults and children.

We try to operate as safely as we possibly can but with compassion and understanding for every client coming to our door. The same applies to those clients who cannot come to us, due to illness or an emergency, where we deliver food packages to their homes to make sure they are looked after.

We have a great team of volunteers in all our departments who get your donations collected, transported, processed in the warehouse and finally brought for distribution at our centre.

Although I get many requests for volunteering at the Foodbank, we are currently restricting numbers because of the pandemic. Our small teams are well trained and adjusted to the new rules of working, all very committed to help the Community and in a way that is safe for themselves and the clients.

Many clients are grateful to receive a bus pass, thanks to the initiative of the Chatterbus Committee. It enables clients to travel free on the Chatterbus to shops, play areas, the job centre and places to relax – obviously less now in the lockdown period.

We know that many people are struggling in the current economic climate, from redundancies or a sudden crisis which can hit anyone of us. Cobham Area Foodbank is committed to help those in need and share the generosity of this great Community.

We all look forward to better times and especially good health this winter.

Please, keep our volunteers and all our clients in your prayers.

Maybe a bit early but wishing all a Blessed Christmas.

Christina van Roest

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