Fill your tank – Food Banks
The pandemic had increased the call on their resources and we have been attempting to meet the need.
Nationally a large number of Food Banks are organised by The Trussell Trust, an NGO and charity but, for whatever reason, their reach does not extend to either Guildford or Godalming.
Although the Office of National Statistics suggests Guildford is one of the most affluent Boroughs within the UK we still need four Food Banks as there are some very deprived areas within the town. We support the North Guildford Food Banks – which have recently registered as a charity. Their main centre of operations is at St Clare’s Church, Cabel Road, Park Barn, Guildford but they also provide services in Bellfields and Bushy Hill. There are no paid staff and the operation is run entirely by volunteers.
Before dispensing food parcels they have to be satisfied there is a genuine need and this is met by either their own enquiries or vouchers issued by one of up to 20 agencies within the town. Clients are ‘interviewed’ to establish their requirements and will received food and other items to last one week.
They do not want clients to become dependent on the service so in the normal course they are permitted only three visits during any three month period but this ‘rule’ has been relaxed during the pandemic. The pandemic has created extra calls on their volunteers so members of Guildford Lions Club are now assisting with deliveries to families without any means of collecting their boxes of goods.
Until 2019 there was a Lions Club in Godalming but, for various reasons, it was forced to close. We established there was a similar, independent, Food Bank operating out of St Mark’s Church, Franklyn Road, Godalming and we have been supporting them since September 2020.
Since the start of the pandemic we have been purchasing potatoes, carrots and eggs from a local wholesaler who delivers them direct to the Food Banks. The Food Banks also receive a wide variety of items donated via local supermarkets or businesses.
To provide you with some data – we have in the twelve months to June 2021 paid out some £4200 for Guildford and since September around £1200 for Godalming. During the six months to the end June 2021 this translates into:
Potatoes Carrots Eggs
Guildford 1820 Kgs 550 Kgs 560 dozen
Godalming 440 Kgs 30 Kgs 330 dozen