ICRTouch visited the Isle of Wight foodbank over the Christmas period to see first hand the vital work they do in helping people in the local community, especially during the run-up to Christmas and the added pressure that puts on families.
Every day there are people on the Island who go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy, to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. A simple box of food makes a big difference, with foodbanks helping prevent crime, housing loss, family breakdown and mental health problems. The Isle of Wight foodbank provide a few days worth of nutritionally balanced emergency food to support local people who are referred to them in crisis. The Isle of Wight branch are part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.
The mainstay of the foodbank are their food donations to those in crisis, which amount to approximately 4 tonnes per month. Detailed planning goes into making sure there are enough food parcels available when needed because food donations vary considerably, as does the requirements of each individual or family. Donations are meticulously weighed, categorised by type and sorted for freshness by the volunteers in the warehouse, and then distributed to foodbank clinics around the Island when needed.
In addition to the emergency parcels, the foodbank helps to provide training and awareness on how to manage finances and cooking on a budget. These additional life skills can reduce a person’s dependency on the food bank in the future, and is a programme that the Isle of Wight foodbank would like to be able to expand to reach more people.
Aside from relying on food donations from the public, balancing the foodbank’s monthly financial overheads is a constant struggle. Ground rent, electricity bills, insurance, fuel and maintenance for their delivery van, and providing educational courses, all require constant funding. Some of this is generated by sales from pre-loved clothing within their textile shop, but they are always relying on generous help from the local community.
This Christmas ICRTouch wanted to help ease the burden by donating £2,225.00 to fund the Isle of Wight foodbank's insurance premium for another year, allowing them to continue operating and ensure their vital food parcels reach those that need it most.