We have received a newsletter from the foodbank from their Chair Jonathan Lees, as follows:
“This month, the Foodbank in Epsom & Ewell sees its five year anniversary.
In that time we have fed nearly 12,000 people, providing 160 tonnes of food, given over 200 hours of volunteering a week and developed our project to include three other centres.
We also offer furniture, cooking courses, counselling, support and signposting to other agencies.
We would like to send a big thank you to all those who have donated food to us during this busy harvest time.
Our volunteers are tirelessly putting in many hours to sort and store the food.
So far we have collected almost 5 tonnes of food.
Please, keep praying for and supporting this vital work in our area.”
Epsom & Ewell Foodbank has now fed over 10,000 people!
Where did it all start?
We launched in October 2012. The foodbank was set up and run by a small number of volunteers from local churches with some agency support. At that time people doubted whether Epsom and Ewell even needed a foodbank, let alone the 5 centres we currently run. And yet in the 4 years since our beginning we’ve expanded from food and essentials to furniture, cooking classes and energy services. We even have an app. We’re part of the Trussell Trust, the largest network of foodbanks in the country.
We run under their guidance and supervision. www.trusselltrust.org
The Epsom & Ewell Foodbank sprang up from good intentions. Seeing the impact of the Kingston foodbank, we ran an ‘exploring the idea’ meeting with the Trussell Trust that attracted 70+ local people. Once we got the OK, everything started coming together. As word spread about the foodbank, food and toiletry donations started rolling in. We were given spaces in Ruxley Church and Epsom Methodist Church to store our food and serve clients, spaces which we still use today. As the number of clients referred to us grew, we expanded, setting up centres in Leatherhead, Tadworth and Banstead.
Since then, the foodbank has grown not only in its services, but in its ability to function. As the years pass our ability to work and give the best possible service to our clients has become so much better - to the point where volunteers can see a difference between the foodbank of now, and the foodbank of even just 2 years ago.
As well as our 5 centres, we have started running other projects and services to help people who need support to move out of food poverty. In every centre, clients have access to;
· Benefit advice
· Our Energy Bank project
· The ‘Eat Well, Spend Less’ cooking course
· Furniture Bank
· A large selection of groups and charities that can supply extra support
All of our services are given with the hope that one day, people won’t need us. Not all of these are handled in the centres, but clients can get information and apply as needed. Our projects are meant to give clients the support they need to become more independent, more economically viable and live stable, comfortable lives that some of us often take for granted. Maybe one day the foodbank will close!
This might not happen any time soon, but every person helped brings us a little bit closer to that goal.
It’s a system built on filling the gaps - the gaps in our own way of working, the gaps in the services we provide, and the gaps left by benefit issues, government cuts, sanctions, zero hour contractors, high costs of living; the list goes on and on.
Epsom & Ewell foodbank is many things but one of its key attributes is its volunteers. It is the product of its amazing team of volunteers. We generate about 200+ hours of volunteering each week. It’s a way of working that has allowed us to grow, and will allow us to keep growing, until we’re no longer needed.
It’s taken us 1,572 days to feed 10,000 mouths, our prayer is the next 10,000 takes longer!
We are holding an event to recognise the number. On 26th April we are hosting a free screening of ‘I, Daniel Blake’ at Bourne Hall. There will be information shared and an opportunity to support the work of the foodbank and support even more people.
Could we raise £1 to match every person we have helped to feed? That would be amazing! There will be ways to donate to the work. Doors open from 7pm. Please book a free ticket via Eventbrite, spaces are limited!
Thank you to so many of you that have supported us over the years, whether with food, hours, likes or donations, it has all been greatly received.
Epsom & Ewell Foodbank - 0208 786 8221
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