The team of volunteers have been working tirelessly to supply families with food on Fridays, to ensure that no families go hungry as the cost of living crisis impacts families nationwide.
The foodbank has recently moved from the centre of town to Townstal hall, which gives them a good base to be able to distribute these food packages to families in need. Volunteers hand out both ‘ambient food’, which consists of bags of long life tins and packets, and fresh food which is supplied by FareShare, an organisation that redistributes surplus food to charities like the Dartmouth foodbank. The fresh goods come from Cornwall farmers, meaning that those being supported by the foodbank are able to make fresh, good quality meals.
The ambient food packet supplies individuals for three to four days, and the amount of supplies are then double or tripled depending on the amount of people in the supported family.
What makes Dartmouth foodbanks work so special is there ‘open to all’ policy.
Anna, has been involved with the foodbank since 2012, explained that they used to supply goods based on referrals, but now they have moved away from this, and are there to help absolutely anyone who needs it.
She said: “we would never turn anyone away.”
The foodbank has always stayed open, even through challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, and the team work around the clock to ensure local people don’t go hungry.
Jonathan Hawkins, another volunteer at the foodbank, added “if anybody needs any help or assistance just come on in… we’re here to help.”
He spoke of the changes they have seen since the cost of living crisis, with volunteers seeing “considerably lot more families” in the last few months.
The cost of living crisis has meant that many households have been feeling the pinch recently, which means that charities like the Dartmouth foodbank are vital in the current climate.
The venue has also been registered as a warm hub over this winter period, as part of the government scheme to introduce spaces where people can stay warm over a cup of tea in response to the energy crisis and increasing electricity bills. This warm hub has been set up in collaboration with Dartmouth caring, a charity who work to help people of all ages in Dartmouth, and both games and hot beverages are available at the venue.
On Fridays, as well as being able to access food parcels, Citizens advice have also been on hand at the warm hub, to support people in matters of finances, health, bills, benefits, family issues and much more. All support from Citizens Advice is free and up to date.
The Covid-19 pandemic saw many challenges for the foodbank team, but they were able to continue reaching clients through providing deliveries, and have overcome any obstacle to ensure the people in need in Dartmouth are happy and healthy.
Jonathan added: “we’re just a friendly smile here to help.”