Larder report : September 2020 - going forward!
Demand continues to be high, since April numbers have been every month more than twice the same period last year, though not as extreme as in April and May.
Heading back towards "normal", we will soon start referring those that need more help to Citizens Advice or to EDDC departments which already refer many people to us. This will take us back to our policy of providing food help in the context of support for the underlying crisis. We have always helped any "food emergency", but the "underlying crisis" needs support as well to help people move forward.
There can be no doubt that the food bank crisis will continue, maybe driven more by people relying on Universal Credit having lost good jobs than by the virus itself. We are already seeing people needing food help due to pressures from other expenses.
Normal now is "what we got", most certainly not what we want! The virus is around to stay; a vaccine will suppress it, but how long must a vaccine be used before we know it is effective? So we have to adapt in The Larder, as everywhere else. Deliveries will continue to be the norm. "Social distancing" prevents us having people come to collect, except a few in special conditions such as homelessness.
Fortunately, the Exmouth Community Larder now has a long term future in the Sheppards Row hall following an agreement with the Salvation Army, including the availability of more space. This was discussed and agreed before the virus struck, but has been especially vital in the urgency of the pandemic.
The pandemic has also been a trigger for some of the new volunteers to be conscripted on to the Committee, following the principle that the Leadership Team should be people working on the front line. Those from the old Leadership Team over the magic age of 70 form the Larder Advisory Group .... old LAGs? All of which works well for the future - new ideas balanced by our established values.
Harvest Festivals will be different this year, but various collections are taking place so we hope for the usual flood of donations. We are overstocked on Pasta and Rice and have plenty of porridge and other cereals, but the mountains of soup and beans are not as high as usual - so any and all tinned foods are very welcome.
T H A N K S to all of Exmouth and surrounds we continue to be well stocked, and a special T H A N K S to our Salvation Army friends who give us enough space!
We all worry about "normal" ...... for most of us in this area, "normal" is having enough food in the cupboard and a roof over our head - many other desirable things are only options. But for some "normal" is a struggle to keep going in the face of adversity, disability, family troubles, lack of money, addictions, mental health or other issues, and now job uncertainty - holidays abroad are an unbelievable luxury!
Exmouth Community Larder, 17th September 2020