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2021 reports from Exmouth Community Larder

Note that usage graphs will update to the latest update,
regardless of the text they were set to illustrate!

Larder report : New Year - new lockdown!

"Good King Wenceslas" seems to have gone out of favour! The carol describes how he "looked out on the feast of Stephen", the day after Christmas, to find and help the poor - King Wenceslas should be patron saint of Foodbanks!! The need continues and will no doubt increase. Much help is needed, so THANKS to the whole community for your continued support!!

The Exmouth Community Larder worked without a break throughout 2020. 2,315 packages were given out, to feed 4,837 people, approximately 58,044 meals!! King Wencelas' Page in verse two would have been proud! All supplies were derived from the generous donations from the whole of the wider community.

Citizens Advice has adapted since the first lockdown, and it is now in a good position to provide help and support. We are all suffering in different ways; being short of food is fundamental, but additionally many are trying to work out their finances in new circumstances; applying for grants and aid is as confusing as deciding how far to drive for a walk .... or walk briskly to where the gym was??

Hungry children don't learn well, so school meals are in the news; the Community Larder is aiming to provide sufficient help locally - certainly the ratio of families to individuals has greatly increased. Hopefully everyone who needs support is being referred to The Larder or will contact us direct at "help@exmouthlarder.co.uk" or by phone to 07749 322291.

"Children learning at home need devices" says Emma Jones, head teacher at Withycombe Primary School ...... "The DFE provided us with 5 ipads for vulnerable children - we are a school of 630 children so these 5 ipads don't go very far. We also have families with 1 device, but 3 or 4 children are all trying to access online."

Nicky Taylor-Bashford, head at St Joseph's Primary, adds: "Teachers and parents are all doing an amazing job, under very difficult circumstances. The news often refers to schools being closed - we are definitely not closed! Teachers continue to put the school children first before their own families and their own anxieties. They continue to teach all day in class whilst also trying to teach and engage children remotely. Parents are trying to support their own children's learning, often whilst juggling working from home and caring for other family members."

With more people needing help with issues beyond just food, at The Larder we are returning to the principle of expecting a referral from such as CA, especially for repeated requests. This is not to limit referrals, but to verify that people are getting help with all their problems. Citizens Advice can be reached on 01395 265070 or 01404 42227 and will call back if busy. CA is also starting a scheme to raise funds and supply devices to those who need them for schooling.

Food remains our main project, but there is a lot of need all around us, and those who find themsleves in a "food emergency" usually have many other troubles too!!

Larder/Foodbank report : February news update

The Exmouth Community Larder decided to change its name to Exmouth Foodbank some time ago, but in March 2020 the Coronavirus hit. It is being implemented now with a much improved website and new email addresses, although some problems have to be sorted!. Looking into the future causes us to look back into the past to grasp the overall picture!

The first lockdown in March 2020 created a surge in people volunteering and a surge in demand from people who could not get supplies, all matched by a surge in donations. Meanwhile volunteers over 70 had to step back leaving new recruits to man the fort led by a few younger previous volunteers. With so many new initiatives at that time to help people, it is easy to think wrongly of the Community Larder being driven by the crisis.

Food emergencies are not new - there have been hungry people needing help from time immemorial. Those who go back to WWII and rationing remember help being provided within each community. People who had enough shared with those that did not. The Gospels remind us "the poor are always with us" The need will continue into the future, especially as more people are relying on government support; many will fall through cracks in the system; mental health issues will expand, where support was already struggling!!

In 2009 in Exmouth, Rev'd John Graver, Minister of Christ Church, filled a spare room in the manse with food for needy families, while Tim Davies had started gathering tins in his garage in Brixington and distributing them to those in need. Volunteers Nov 2013

Tim became part of the founding group in the Larder managing the stockroom, Chris Barker-Bey organised dealings with clients, Major Steve Watson of the Salvation Army did something of everything.

Rev'd Ian Pusey, a retired minister at Holy Trinity, had run a food bank since 1990 in his previous parish, serving 45-50 people a week, referred by social services. The Trussel Trust set up its first food bank in 2000 in Salisbury. This went on to create a national food bank movement, with an organised structure and paid staff, which made big news, but it was not the start of food banks or of the need, but it did create publicity and an impetus!!

The ethos of providing help in a food emergency continues, as does the need to guide people to seek help with their underlying crisis. Thanks to the generosity of the whole of greater Exmouth Community there are currently plenty of volunteers and donations.

The new committee, about to launch a new website and with the experience of the huge demands of 2020, look forward to the challenges of 2021 and beyond .... more later!!

Exmouth Community Larder bulletin - March 2021

The change from "Exmouth Larder" to "Exmouth Food Bank" is a reminder of how it all started. After appointing Anthony manager, the meeting in November 2012 went on to consider how many months would be needed to establish a legal "CIO".

Supplies from Holy Trinity and Littleham Harvest Festivals were already in the Salvation Army hall; Anthony and Major Steve Watson of the S.A. later met in the corridor with the question: "If I had volunteered for you, we could be in business right now!" Major Steve replied "and the people who thought they would be Trustees can be the Advisory Group."

So the Larder took its first breath! About 50 would-be volunteers came to a meeting and a show of hands preferred Friday afternoons. The "presentation" stated giving food for just three days, so a second show of hands chose Monday as the second day for opening.

The meeting divided into three groups - those to work with clients, those wanting to work in the stockroom and others delivering. Chris Barker-Bey said afterwards "the meeting was not organised"!!
Marie and Millie in the early stockroom

But it was .... Chris had led those dealing with clients, Tim had taken his group to the stockroom and the delivery group did not have a lot to discuss.
So from the start there was enthusiasm and team-work backed by initiative and common sense, but not a lot of "organisation"!! After a visit to Manchester, Marie came back with the idea of dating tins. What soon became "normal" had very basic beginnings!!

Chris, Brenda and ?? Sadly, Chris died last year, having moved to Leeds some time before. The Larder also lost Brenda Chanter who did the artwork for the "Thank You" cards and Millie Newman who was a steadfast in the stockroom.

In eight formative years the Food Bank owes a lot to so many people who helped to define and hone its working practices, and continues to provide much needed support today under its new name of Exmouth Food Bank, with a new team who rose to the challenge in the first lockdown.

Right now, we are all in need - not only those in a food emergency! In the Christian calendar we are in Lent; the watchword this Lent from Pope Francis is "HOPE". For Christians this hope comes with the resurrection of Christ at Easter; for the rest of us it comes as light at the end of the tunnel when we start to overcome the virus - and that is for Christians too; we are all in this together!

The film "Chocolat" comes to mind - set in a rural village in France during Lent, in which the mayor sets rigid rules for penance and self-denial. A lady comes into the village to set up a chocolate shop .... a luxury too far, contrary to Lenten self-denial!!

However, the minister abandons the agreed script at Easter and preaches about Jesus' humanity rather than his divinity, his caring and help for people. ""We are not measured by what we don't do, whom we exclude and what we deny; we are measured by whom we include, what we do do and what we embrace!!""

Anthony Bernard, Exmouth Community Larder, 15th March 2021
now ..... www.exmouthfoodbank.org.uk

Exmouth foodbank Logo             Exmouth Larder Logo

Larder/Foodbank report : March news update

We launched our new website and our new name, "Exmouth Food Bank" with very few glitches. Our team of volunteers decorated the Salvation Army hall with green bunting to match our new logo. They really got into it and wore green clothing, accessories and one lady wore a green wig to mark and celebrate the day. We were also blessed with an amazing cake decorated in green, made by an extremely talented volunteer. I encourage you to take a look at the new website which has further information and photographs, plus details of a new way to donate using our Just Giving page.

The launch day was special and marked with joy, however the very heart of what we do remains the same. We are about people. The people who volunteer, the people who donate, all giving time, money, resources, kindness, compassion and love to the people needing our services.

During the Covid pandemic it has been a time of delivering food parcels at a distance. Hopefully in the not too distant future we will be able to welcome people back into the hall, where we can offer a friendly smile and hospitality along with emotional and spiritual support. We will also be able to signpost people to other services and to address any underlying needs. We will keep you updated as to when this will happen.
ian cuts the cake

As we move tentatively out of lockdown our futures appear uncertain. For many their life circumstances will have changed, but no matter what people are facing, the Food Bank will continue to be here to help. This is down to you, the wonderful people of Exmouth and surrounding areas. We have been overwhelmed by your generosity and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

In the words of St Paul: The love of Christ compels us, the example of Jesus draws us and leads us, not just to speak of God as love, but to demonstrate it by reaching out in compassion to those in greatest need.

Well done the people of Exmouth and all our supporters for doing just that.

God bless
Elizabeth Reed

Larder/Foodbank report : April news update

Dear friends of the Exmouth Food Bank, Our Food Bank relies on the goodwill and support of local people. We can't do this without you! Over 80 per cent of food distributed by us is donated by the public. That is why your food donations are absolutely vital to our ability to give everyone referred to us a balanced and nutritious supply of food. Help us to balance our stock by donating the foods listed on our priority list:

  - Tinned Rice Pudding
  - Long- Life Juice or Bottles of Squash
  - Long-Life Milk
  - Tinned Vegetables (eg. Carrots, Peas, Sweetcorn, Mushrooms)
  - Packets of Custard
  - Boxed, Tinned or Packet Potatoes
  - Tinned Fruit (eg. Fruit Cocktail, Pineapple, Peaches)
  - Toilet Rolls

We have just started sending out fresh fruit and vegetables and we will see what people like and adapt this over time. We also send out fresh bread with every parcel. Toiletries, feminine hygiene products, nappies, baby formula, cleaning products and pet food are also provided upon request and subject to availability. Just recently we have adapted our family parcels to incorporate a wider choice of foods to allow for making a more varied selection of meals. One of our regular donors has made up bags with everything needed in them to make a meal, for example macaroni cheese. This has been a brilliant initiative and seems to be going down well with clients.

Over the past few weeks we have seen a marked increase in people needing our support, saying the familiar words, "I never imagined I'd need a Food Bank." First time clients have included those made newly redundant in the hospitality sector and awaiting their first universal credit payment. We have seen more families with children needing our help, parents facing increased food bills due to loss of free school meals; families with both parents furloughed and unable to meet their living costs on their reduced income. In March we delivered parcels to 219 families and fed 506 people. Now with the lockdown lifting and children back to school hope is on the horizon. We are so grateful to the local community and to our volunteers for their support. It has been humbling to see so many people working together to serve their neighbours in need. While this has been a terrible time in many ways, the kindness and generosity of the human spirit has been much in evidence - and we have been genuinely moved by your support.

Elizabeth Reed

Exmouth Food Bank bulletin - May 2021

Dear friends of the Exmouth Food Bank,

Leading up to Easter we received so many lovely Easter eggs and chocolates, generously donated by you, which our clients have received with grateful thanks. These have helped to bring smiles to so many families and children.

However hunger here in the UK isn't all about food. It's about not having enough money for the essentials. Going forward we are meeting up to discuss how we can safely welcome people back into the hall and where we can once again offer more than just food. We provide compassionate, practical support to people in crisis so that they can tackle the issues they are facing, enabling them to move forward and not rely on the food bank indefinitely. We can signpost people to other agencies and services that can help them, preventing them from reaching a crisis point in the future.

Our volunteers are good listeners and this is crucial to truly understand the nature of the problems they face. Everyone's experience of poverty is different and it is vital that people receive tailored dignified support. Our values are core to everything we do and they guide the decisions we make. We are compassionate towards the individuals and families who turn to us for support and always treat people with dignity and respect. We are non-judgemental in our dealing with others and celebrate the diverse talents, backgrounds, passion and commitment of those who support and work with us.

We value our community and recognise that by working in partnership with local agencies and organisations we can better support those in food crisis. We demonstrate integrity in all that we do and treat others as we would want to be treated ourselves. We work very closely with Citizens Advice, Open Door, Children's Centre and EDDC.

If you see anyone homeless please contact Homeless Outreach - Streetlink on - 0300 500 0914 24/7 hotline or at www.streetlink.org.uk. They will support and signpost them to other agencies for help. If you know of anyone who is pregnant and/or with young children under 4, who may benefit from free milk, fruit & veg & vitamins please pass on this website address www.healthystart.nhs.uk.

By working together we can help the whole community. Thank you!

Elizabeth Reed

Exmouth Food Bank bulletin - June 2021

Dear Friends of the Exmouth FoodBank,

We have good news! Over the last month we have seen a decrease in the number of people using our service. This means that for the moment things are looking up. However we want to make sure that we continue to reach the people that really need us. That is why we are endeavouring to raise our profile and spread awareness, by using facebook and displaying posters in doctor's surgeries, hairdressers, dental practices, schools and other places around Exmouth and the surrounding areas. We do not want anyone to fall through the net and miss out on help. We don't want anyone to be struggling and having to choose between paying a bill or food to eat.

For some people there is still a stigma attached to coming along to a foodbank. We want to change this way of thinking. We want to make it known that it is ok for you to come to us. There may be times when, even if you are working, that an unexpected bill lands. We are here for just those times too. Together we are stronger, together we can make a difference and together we can offer you support to get you through.

The hall is having a revamp this month, with a new roof, some alterations in the office and a cafe area. It is going to be even more welcoming and hopefully feel more relaxed and friendly. As we look forward to people coming back inside the building in the near future, we hope this will create a space, where people can relax with a nice cup of tea or coffee and biscuits. They will then be called forward to collect their food parcel, which will be packed into carrier bags for carrying home. We hope that every person can feel at ease and leave with a smile. Our dedicated volunteers are looking forward to engaging with people again and we can't wait to welcome you. We had a visit from the Budleigh Lions club who presented a certificate of appreciation to all our volunteers for the work they had done supporting people in need during the pandemic. (See photo Exmouth Journal online)

As we move out of lockdown and look forward to even less restrictions, we will let you know further details of our planned opening of the hall. This will include details of our policies regarding the way we will be working within the new revamped space. We value you, our supporters and it would be great if you would like to come and visit us and see the building when it has had its alterations. See the website for our opening times. Please, do come and have a coffee and a chat with us, we would love to see you. Thank you as always for your dedicated support.

Elizabeth Reed

Exmouth Food Bank bulletin - July 2021

Dear Friends of the Exmouth FoodBank,

In June we delivered 153 parcels and fed 306 people. Although numbers are reducing we are still serving three times as many people as we were prior to the pandemic. Monthly graphs are available on the statistics page of our website, which you may find interesting.

People from all walks of life use the Food Bank. Some have their benefits stopped whilst they have been in hospital; waiting for over five weeks without money; not having enough to pay rent or bills. Some people are working and still struggling. Whatever their financial circumstances many people have experienced bereavement, accidents at work, mental and physical health problems, relationship breakdown - the sort of things that can happen to any of us. We have a team of amazing volunteers who all love to engage with people, not only to signpost to other agencies and help them to think of ways forward, but to make connections with people. We are inspired and humbled by peoples gratitude and resilience. We offer empathy and compassion and we do our best to give people hope that things can change.

We are testing a new idea which we are calling "out of hours boxes". We have made up some emergency food boxes and plan to deliver these to a number of designated collection points, such as local churches, schools and community halls. This means if we get an emergency call for food and the request is outside of our normal operating hours, we can arrange for the client to pick up the box. The box will provide enough food to last them until we are open again and can help with their ongoing needs.

We are so grateful for all who donate money and food and enable us to serve people within our Community. If you are able to donate food, this month we are in need of:
    Tinned Vegetables (eg carrots, peas, sweetcorn, mushrooms)
    Tinned Tomatoes Tinned Fruit (eg fruit cocktail, pineapple, peaches)
    Tinned Rice Pudding
    Tins & Packets of Custard Jars of Pasta Sauce

Bless your hearts to everyone who prays for us, donates and volunteers and we thank you for your dedicated support.

Exmouth Food Bank bulletin - August 2021

Dear Friends of the Exmouth FoodBank,

Thank you for your generosity. Through individual supporters, local group collections and businesses, we receive approximately 3/4 of a ton of donated products each week. We currently have enough supplies for the next few months of dried pasta, rice, tinned meat, tinned soups and beans. If you are able to donate we are in need of:
    Tinned Vegetables & Tomatoes
    Tinned Fruit
    Jars of Pasta Sauce
    Longlife Milk

The renovations of the Salvation Army Hall are well underway. We have a new roof and ceiling and a great new office space. The walls have been painted white with a hint of lilac. The hall somehow seems bigger, but it is very dusty at the moment and full of workmen painting whilst they listen to music.

We are very excited to share the news that we shall be re-opening our doors to people once again on Tuesday 7th September. We are counting down the weeks and can't wait to welcome everyone to come and collect their food parcels in person. We will be open on Tuesday and Friday afternoons from 1.30 pm to 3.00 pm.

We have continued our service throughout the pandemic and our team of volunteer drivers have delivered parcels to the majority of those individuals and families who have asked for our support. However we have missed the face to face contact and personal engagement with people, which provides us with the opportunity to refer them to supporting agencies if required.

As businesses are reopening, we have sadly lost some of our volunteers as they go back to their previous jobs. We are now looking to place our existing volunteers into some new roles as we seek to re-evaluate how we welcome and distribute parcels of food to people in the best way possible.

We will have a morning of trialing this between ourselves to ensure we have the best practices in place.

Thank you as always to our wonderful supporters, without YOU we would not be able to continue to help our neighbours in their time of need. God bless you.

Exmouth Food Bank bulletin - September 2021

Dear Friends of the Exmouth FoodBank,

During August we fed 271 people. Now, as covid restrictions are lifted, we look to see how this will affect people going forward. Will this mean that people can get back to work? Will the ending of the furlough scheme impact families in a negative way? The government is planning to take away the extra £20.00 that has been given in the universal credits benefit. This will surely be an extra squeeze on already tight incomes. Will we see an increased need for our services? Only time will tell. We wait to see how it unfolds and we would like to reassure you that as a FoodBank we are ready for whatever happens.

With people coming back into the Salvation Army Hall, we can offer more than basic foods. There will be a choice from a selection of fresh produce, such as bananas, oranges, potatoes, carrots and eggs, which will provide a more varied diet. People will be able to help themselves to toiletries and cleaning products and nappies will be available if required. Our volunteers are looking forward to welcoming everyone with open arms and friendly smiles.

As we think of the future, we remember that the Harvest Festival is coming up. We thank you for your dedicated support and we wonder if you would be so kind as to donate any of the following from our list of most needed items:
    Longlife Milk
    Longlife Fruit Juice & Bottled Fruit Squash
    Jars of Pasta Sauce
    Tinned Vegetables & Tinned Tomatoes
    Tinned Rice Pudding & Tinned Fruit & Packets of Custard
    Packets of Instant Mashed Potato
    Packets of Noodles & Couscous & Savoury Rice

We take this opportunity to thank the whole community for your ongoing support. They probably won't like this, as they are so very humble, but we especially would like to say a huge thank you and well done to Shirley and Ian, who have steered us as a FoodBank throughout all of the covid changes. Their dedication is commendable. They have ensured that we have had enough volunteers and drivers and that people continue to be fed. I know that as our friends and supporters you would wish to thank them too.

Exmouth Food Bank bulletin - October 2021

Dear Friends of the Exmouth FoodBank,

It has been so lovely to welcome people back into the Salvation Army Hall again. The alterations and decoration of the hall is now almost finished and it looks great. If any of you would like to come and have a look, please do get in touch to arrange a visit. It would be great to see you!

We are very grateful to the green fingered gardeners at Woodbury allotments, who are donating their excess produce, enabling people to have such fresh vegetables, straight from the ground to us. We have also signed up to be part of the Budleigh Co-op food share scheme, where we receive unsold fresh items from the store each week.

We are sometimes asked to supply emergency food to someone in need when we are not open and so we have been piloting a scheme called, "Out of Hours Boxes". This has meant that we have supplied a number of boxes of emergency food to a group of participating Churches, who can ensure that they are given to anyone in need of emergency help when we are closed. Currently there are boxes in:
    St Margaret and St Andrew's Church Littleham
    Exmouth Chapel
    Scott Drive Church, Exmouth

We would like to have boxes in more Churches, also Schools and GP surgeries. If you feel that you would like to be part of this scheme, please keep an eye out for an email with more details coming soon, or please do get in touch.

We are seeing an increase in single people coming forward for help. These are people with no one to share their burdens. The one to one chats with volunteers have enabled people to talk through many problems and feel that someone cares. It has been a privilege to help them get the provisions that they need and now they are also able to choose their own treat from a selection of what is available, eg, biscuits, crisps, jam or possibly a chocolate bar. Giving people the freedom to choose this has brought many smiles to people's faces.

Next month we start to think about Christmas and being able to offer extra treats to go into food parcels. If you are able to donate Christmas goodies that would be much appreciated. Thank you for your ongoing support!

Exmouth Food Bank bulletin - November 2021

Dear Friends of the Exmouth FoodBank,

May I begin with a huge thank you to our Churches, Schools, Clubs and to the whole Community, for all of their Harvest Festival gifts. We have been deeply touched by the kindness and generosity of everyone. The donations have kept our volunteers very busy, sorting, dating and packing items.
In October we sent out 232 food parcels and fed 405 people.

We were delighted to respond to requests from Woodbury Primary School and Littleham Sunday School to attend and talk about the work of the foodbank and explain how their Harvest Festival donations are used. We hope to be able to do more of this important work and raise awareness among young people.

The Foodbank has been working along with other local agencies and Exmouth town council to support twelve Afghan refugee families that are temporarily staying in the area. We were able to provide nappies, baby products and toiletries. All of these things were very gratefully received and we thank everyone who specifically donated items for these families.

If you are still able to donate we are in need of and would really appreciate the following items please:
    Long life milk
    long life fruit juice
    bottled fruit squash
    jars of pasta sauce
    tinned vegetables and tomatoes
    tinned rice pudding
    tinned fruit
    packet custard
    packet instant potato mash
    noodles, rice
    packet pasta in sauce
and we are also short of cleaning products.

So now we look to the future and to how things will pan out. The ending of furlough, the increase in energy prices, the removal of the £20.00 in universal credit. All of these things are going to impose a greater burden on our neighbours who may already be struggling to put food on the table or to pay the bills and now possibly face the decision of whether they can afford to be warm. Some people may even face eviction and homelessness. This can be devastating especially for families.

As we approach Christmas, as we plan and prepare for our festivities, as we shop and write our Christmas cards, please let us never forget the ones who may not have food, warmth or even a home. If you are able to donate Christmas goodies they would be most appreciated, also anything that could be given as a gift, as many people will not be able to afford to buy presents for their loved ones.

God Bless you.
Elizabeth Reed

Exmouth Food Bank bulletin - December 2021

Dear Friends of the Exmouth FoodBank,

All of us at the Exmouth Food Bank would like to wish all of our supporters a very merry Christmas and a great big thank you from us all. Your continued generous donations have meant we were able to send out this year so far 1733 parcels and feed 3534 people. That is all down to your ongoing kindness.

As this newsletter goes out our volunteers are putting together Christmas parcels packed with extra goodies to bring cheer to people's hearts. We are open on the Thursday before Christmas the 23rd December, instead of the Friday, for people to collect their food.

We also wish to thank our volunteers, the drivers, the packers, the people who date the food, the welcomers, people on the desk, people who answer the telephone, also the ones who manage and collect our stock and donations. Well done everybody from the bottom of our hearts.

We have looked back at 2021 and now we look forward towards the new year and what 2022 may bring. We must remember that January and February can be very hard months for people following Christmas and that we would appreciate donations beyond December.

There are other ways that you can help us and that is by raising awareness. All too often food poverty can be underreported or misunderstood. You can stay informed about the latest news and issues affecting the people we work with and help others to understand too - by sharing these newsletters with others, by following us on social media and spreading the word. We must remember that for many of the folks that visit us they simply do not have the support network of family and friends, but with all of your help and kindness, together we can be that family.

God Bless you.
Elizabeth Reed

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