Covid One Year On: Volunteers in St Neots dug deep to make sure people did not go hungry

The St Neots Foodbank had to move to a delivery system once lockdown measures were introduced.

The St Neots Foodbank had to move to a delivery system once lockdown measures were introduced. - Credit: ST NEOTS FOODBANK

Volunteers at the St Neots Foodbank say the national lockdown in March last year forced them to adopt a new way of supporting the community.

Once the lockdown was announced, they firstly had to ensure their volunteers and members of the public were kept safe. 

In normal times, members of the public would collect food from centres in St Neots on designated days of the week, but the volunteers realised they would have to move to a delivery model. Food parcels now had to be packed into cardboard boxes after being sorted at the distribution and storage centre and delivered to homes by a team of volunteer drivers.

"We swiftly moved to a home delivery model and delivered directly to recipients’ homes with a team of drivers, ensuring drivers and recipients maintained safe social distancing through the protocols we set up," said volunteer Keith Woodward.

During 2020, the St Neots Foodbank supplied food parcels (now including fresh fruit and veg) to feel almost 1,400 adults and 990 local children in the local area, which was an increase of 31 per cent on 2019 figures.

In addition, they supplied 313 basic food bags to nominated recipients in November and later 259 Christmas hampers to bring some joy to families who were struggling.

The stockroom at the St Neots Foodbank. 

The stockroom at the St Neots Foodbank. - Credit: ST NEOTS FOODBANK

As well as supporting local people with food, St Neots foodbank volunteers also crowdfunded and managed to raise £9,000, which helped to fund home essentials, including carpets and appliances and tablets.

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Money was also used to help those who needed energy top-ups  for gas and electricity and to provide pet food and pet care offered by Wood Green Animal Shelter.

"A very important part of our work was also signposting people to other appropriate support services. We were able to remind them about the free and confidential service offered by the Citizens Advice Rural Cambs," explained Keith.

"Throughout the pandemic, and indeed all other times, St Neots Foodbank is fortunate to have an outstanding team of dedicated volunteers and supporters, including funders, which ensures continued help for local people in need of our services."

One of the volunteers in the stockroom at the St Neots depot.

One of the volunteers in the stockroom at the St Neots depot. - Credit: ST NEOTS FOODBANK

Twitter: @StNeotsFoodbank;   Phone: 01480 475426;  E-mailinfo@stneots.foodbank.org.uk;  Facebook: www.facebook.com/stneotsfoodbank;  Website:  www.stneots.foodbank.org.uk Citizens Advice Rural Cambs:  www.citizensadviceruralcambs.org.uk






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