Community support is welcomed by foodbank

A toy appeal, a donation of more than £1,600 of fresh meat vouchers and the support of a local care home has helped the Blandford Foodbank provide for those in desperate need over the Christmas period. Following the success of the meat voucher appeal over the last two years, the Lions club and Stour Rotary kicked off this year’s appeal with donations of £300 each. A further £1,000 was raised on Facebook. Matos butchers added vouchers for £50.

Blandford Foodbank manager Gail del Pinto said: “This is an amazing gift to the foodbank and we ensured that all our vulnerable families received a meat voucher alongside their Christmas Food parcel this Christmas. Our very grateful thanks to the all those who have donated so generously and wonderfully. Toys have also been donated to the foodbank from our recent Toy Appeal and from local benefactors and schools. Any family in need for toys needed to be referred to the foodbank.”

The Foodbank has thanked a multitude of businesses, organisations and individuals which have donated to the funds, toys and food and acted as drop-off points for donations from the public, including The Computer Shop, Sandroyd School, HSBC Blandford, Diplomat House dental practice, Bryanston and Blandford Schools, villagers in Sixpenny Handley, House of Sarrunds chocolates, Morrisons, Chaffers estate agents, the Langton Arms and Justine Templeman from Spoons of Dorset.

Colten Care, with a number of homes in Dorset including Whitecliffe House in Blandford, almost next door to the foodbank, invited donors to drop off food in collection boxes at the sites or its head office in Ringwood, and donations in Blandford were taken round on days the foodbank was open. Colten Care also donated food directly and invited its regular suppliers to do the same.

Mrs del Pinto said: “We have seen an upsurge of people needing help with food parcels and we are happy to report that the community has been hugely supportive of the work we are doing with our local vulnerable families. But we have seen an increase in the number of people seeking help from our Community Money Advice scheme. Appointments are available with our debt advisors, it’s all FREE and confidential and importantly there is no waiting list.”

The Trussell Trust, another of the food bank networks being supported by Colten Care, has forecast a 61 per cent increase in demand this winter, and recently released a report about the impact of coronavirus on the use of food banks nationally.

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