1,000th Food Parcel At Downpatrick Foodbank

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During the week of 18th November, Fountain Foodbank distributed its 1,000th food parcel since opening just over a year ago.

Food bank coordinator Shirley Lennon  said: “This is NOT something to celebrate but important to note. The parcel was gratefully received by a family living in Downpatrick with three children under the age of 10, who were having difficulty coping on a limited income. Having been referred by SVP, they are just one example of the many local families and individuals that the Foodbank has been able to help since opening in March 2015.It was pleasing, but humbling to see the relief the mother showed when receiving the food, making the volunteers aware of the positive impact our work can have.

Pictured were volunteers at the Fountain Foodbank launch in March 2015  from left, back row, Sarah Shields, Carole Gill, the Rev Owen Patterson, and Connie Macrae, with front row, Karen Campbell, Shirley Lennon, Fountain Foodbank Co-ordinator, Robert Shields and Roger Dunford
Pictured were volunteers at the Fountain Foodbank launch in March 2015 from left, back row, Sarah Shields, Carole Gill, the Rev Owen Patterson, and Connie Macrae, with front row, Karen Campbell, Shirley Lennon, Fountain Foodbank Co-ordinator, Robert Shields and Roger Dunford

“The Foodbank has just received funding via the small grants scheme of the Association of Volunteer Centres, a DSD initiative. The grant will enable volunteers to access training in the safe handling of food, help with ongoing costs to support the volunteers and encourage others to get involved. Our volunteers are so essential to the smooth running of the service and we want to thank them for all their work. Recently several volunteers have moved on and we would like to thank them for their involvement and wish them well.

“These volunteers include Audrey Marshall, Connie Macrae and Jack McIlheron. Betty Liddell, who was so helpful in starting the Foodbank has stepped down as a Team Leader, but thankfully remains as a volunteer and we welcome Dominic Breen in her place. We would like to welcome several new volunteers, including, Fiona Johnston, Jill Reid, Kathleen Greenwood, Raymond and Audrey Neill. If you would like to help please contact myself, Shirley, on the Foodbank phone 07444015883.”

Some Statistics.
(March 2015- Nov2016)
1002 Food Parcels Distributed
1481 Adults
234 Teenagers
1013 Children
Total: 2713 people helped

Shirley added: “Social media is a great way to spread the news about our foodbank. Please ‘Like and Share’ our post as much as you can. Just login and search for Fountain Foodbank.

Some of the items donated to Fountain Foodbank.
Some of the items donated to Fountain Foodbank.

“Fountain Foodbank has recently become involved in a great scheme organised by FareShareNI and Tesco. It has been set up across NI to cut down on food waste and benefit local charity groups who help tackle food poverty.

“Through the scheme, each Thursday evening one of our volunteers is able to collect left over bread, pastries etc from Tesco in Newcastle, bring them to the Foodbank where they are disturbed the next day to our clients. Clients and partner organisations have benefitted from this. Thanks go especially to the volunteers who collect the food and seem to manage to resist the temptation of sampling the goods on their journey. How do they resist the delicious smell of freshly baked bread and cakes?

“Some of our partner organisations have already requested extra food parcels to help their clients over Christmas. Many find the extra pressure on already tight budgets is too much to cope with.

“We are keen to help struggling families and ease the burden, perhaps preventing some from getting into debt. Over 100 parcels have been requested so far. We are organising times for volunteers to get involved in extra sorting and packing sessions, so watch out for the emails and calls! Better still contact Shirley to offer your help.

“Due to this extra demand, we would be grateful for donations of small, strong boxes or strong carrier bags so that these parcels can be prepared well before Christmas to allow the partners to distribute them in time. Of course, we also need food to fill the boxes, so we encourage you to be generous in your donations too. Spread the word!

“I would just like to thank everyone who helps in any way with the Foodbank. It is such a pleasure to share in the work with such a great bunch of people. I have learned so much from them all. I hope you all have a great Christmas. And remember that Jesus was born into a poor family at Christmas.”