‘It was heartbreaking’ - makeshift foodbank feeds dozens of families in need
PUBLISHED: 16:07 26 October 2020
Ian Burt Photography
Volunteers spent the weekend preparing food parcels for children at risk of going hungry during half term.
The King’s Lynn-based group handed out care packages to more than 60 people on Sunday afternoon, in response to the decision not to extend free school meals during the holidays.
Leading the way were Labour councillor Jo Rust, Jackie Haverson from West Norfolk Carers and Kerry Robinson from Angels of King’s Lynn, who initially met on Friday night with a mutual desire to help.
Inspired by footballer Marcus Rashford’s tireless campaign, the trio secured dozens of donations from businesses and members of the public, while housing association Freebridge permitted use of the Discovery Centre to set up a makeshift foodbank.
Mrs Rust said proceedings had proved overwhelmingly successful after being organised at the 11th hour.
“This was all arranged at very short notice as simply three people getting together on a Friday evening to respond to the vote from MPs,” she added.
“We were upset that kids were not going to get the extension and we didn’t want to think children in our area were going to be hungry.
“We wanted to respond to what we knew was a need, and bring together our different skills and contacts.”
The volunteers received food donations from, among others, Barsby’s, Morrison’s, M&A Fruit and Vegetables and The Co-op Party, while individuals launched collections in the local area.
Having amalgamated the supplies, around 200 parcels were available for people to collect.
Despite managing to help a number of families, Mrs Rust highlighted the upsetting reality of their situation - and the shame they have experienced.
“It was heartbreaking,” she said. “Most people didn’t want to be there and didn’t want to ask for help.
“They all came very reluctantly and the shame is what was evident. You have got a community that wants to help, but people almost have to be forced out.
“It was a long and busy day, but it was uplifting to be able to give something back to the community.”
Leftover parcels are available until Wednesday from the Discovery Centre, Fairstead Community Shop and Providence Street Community Centre.
Families are also being reminded to continue applying for the Norfolk Assistance Scheme.
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