Where are the foodbanks in Devon?
If you live in or near Cornwall, please see information from Transformation Cornwall which may be useful.
- Donate items or money, or volunteer at your local food bank (check which is most needed locally!) The national food bank organisation, Trussell Trust, has this How To Give page, and many other resources!
- Consider setting up a new community larder or food bank (if need is not currently met locally)
- Consider whether your food bank can provide / host / signpost to support/advice services – see Trussell Trust’s Strategic Plan to end the need for food banks – including ‘Changing Communities’
- Campaign for a ‘Hunger Free Future’
- Join a local food network, such as the South Devon Food Alliance, to share food / resources / good practice; and/or the free, national Independent Food Aid Network if not affiliated to the Trussell Trust
- Support Transforming Plymouth Together’s Feast of Fun which combats ‘holiday hunger’ and isolation
- Contribute to wider community support groups (set up during Covid-19)
- Set up a Family Fun Cooking scheme in your local area
- Organise a meal – food can be provided by Exeter Food Action
- Support wider responses with your time or money – homeless organisations, Christians Against Poverty, and Fairtrade for our global neighbours, for example.
- Are food banks still able to operate during Covid lockdown? Yes! – from both church and secular buildings. Provided they follow social distancing rules, they qualify as ‘key work’ providing care for vulnerable people – see Church of England and Trussell Trust guidance. Volunteer numbers are down (as many are 70+, etc) whilst need has gone up; and referrals are harder to make – so streamlining innovations have been needed. New venues and approaches are also successfully emerging ((eg delivery only, ‘community larders’, and helplines). See spreadsheet for evolving updates, and the diocese’s ‘Swapping People In Pews For Parcels Of Food‘ article from May 2020 for inspiring examples.
- How can we best help at the moment? Whilst money is always welcome, donations of food and other requested items are particularly wanted, where possible. This is for two reasons: 1) In the first lockdown (and possibly again), supermarkets limited how much food people can buy – including even volunteers buying for food banks (although Trussell Trust foodbanks have an agreement with Tesco). 2) As more of us self-isolate and buy food online, donations in supermarket collection points are actually decreasing.
- What kind of donations are wanted? Please see details on each individual food bank’s website or call to check. However, food banks generally need supplies of all tinned, dried or long-life items. A typical food parcel might include: breakfast cereal, longlife milk, soup, pasta, rice, pasta sauce, tinned beans, tinned meat, tinned vegetables, tinned fruit, tinned puddings, tea or coffee, sugar, biscuits and snacks. Many foodbanks also collect baby food, baby milk, disposable nappies, washing up liquid, washing powder, soap, dry/canned dog and cat food. If part of wider Covid-19 support groups, some even operate ‘book banks’ and deliver hearing aid batteries etc.
- How do I donate? Please see details on the spreadsheet as to where donations are currently received for each food bank – address/opening times of food bank itself, local shops etc.
- What about people who are self-isolating? Food banks generally require referrals from specialist agencies – for existing service-users who are now self-isolating, many food banks are now delivering. Please see our separate coronavirus community support page for information about mutual aid for other people who are self-isolating but aren’t in financial crisis.
- How can we set up our own local provision? As will be seen, there are many foodbanks across Devon, which have adapted amazingly – it’s best to support these rather than reinventing the wheel. However, as more people are furloughed or lose jobs during lockdown/ongoing recession, it’s likely there will be new more localised need – perhaps as a ‘community larder’ with less formalised referral processes. Buckfastleigh has a well-established Trussell Trust food bank, now operating from St Luke’s church and led by their clergy team. They have already helped Ashburton develop their service, and would be happy to speak with other churches. Rev Laura McAdam is curate and used to work for Christian Aid – please email Laura or call 07341 258852, if you’d like to discuss. Trussell Trust guidance on setting up a new Food Bank is here. Their template volunteer agreement and flowcharts can be seen here.
Click here for more information on why foodbanks are so important
Please email Chris Keppie to share news of your new initiatives!