It’s not always easy to make sure there’s enough to go around, and since 2012 the Northern Devon Foodbank has been supporting local communities in the Devon area with the aid and assistance they need.
We spoke with one of the dedicated volunteers at the Foodbank to find out more about what they do, and how it makes a difference.
Thank you for taking the time to answer our interview questions, we’re really excited about helping support such a fantastic cause with our A Taste of Devon food festival, tell us a bit about the Foodbank, the work you do, who you help and the areas you reach out to.
The Northern Devon Foodbank is a locally funded charity which aims to ensure that no-one in our community goes hungry. That’s why we provide 3 days nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people referred to us in crisis.
We serve the districts of North Devon and Torridge. We are part of a nationwide network of locally funded foodbanks, supported by the Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.
The Northern Devon Foodbank was founded in 2012, how has it grown and changed since then?
The Northern Devon Foodbank has grown significantly since 2012 and now has 6 local distribution centres in Barnstaple, Bideford, Holsworthy, Ilfracombe, South Molton, and the Lyn Valley – as well as a rural distribution network.
It’s no exaggeration to say that the Foodbank has made an enormous impact in the lives of some people in the community – how important would you say the Foodbank is?
Today, the Northern Devon Foodbank plays a vital role in our local community, however our vision is for a fairer future without the need for food banks.
We support the work of the Trussell Trust who are campaigning for change to ensure that no one needs the support of a food bank, for example by ending the five-week wait for universal credit.
What sort of support does the Foodbank get from the local community and local businesses?
We receive amazing support from our local community and local businesses, with donations of time, food and money which are the lifeblood of our organisation.
During the first lockdown in the COVID pandemic, there was a lot of panic buying and shopping delivery became much harder to obtain; how did the lockdown affect the Foodbank and the work you do?
Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen a significant increase in Foodbank usage and foresee that this will continue for months, and potentially years to come.
Over the course of the last year the number of adult emergency food parcels that we have distributed has increased by 30% and the number of food parcels for children has increased a staggering 45%.
That’s why the support of our community at this time is so vital.
There can sometimes be stigma surrounding people who need help, what would you say to someone who’s embarrassed or upset that they need to reach out to you?
The COVID pandemic has shown that any one of us can face a crisis and there are times when all of us need support. We’re here for people in those moments, to help them get back on their feet.
What sort of items do you need the most when it comes to donations?
At the current time our most wanted items are: long life fruit juice, instant mash, dried milk and men’s toiletries.
Are there any goods or items that you can’t accept as donations? (either due to short-coding, health and safety, etc)
We prefer to receive long life items, rather than perishable items.
If someone needs to use your services, how should they get in touch?