Appeals for help from the Blandford Food Bank have once against brought forth numerous donations from organisations and individuals eager to support the hundreds of people struggling to manage as the cost of living increases in the run up to Christmas.
By the beginning of December the charity had fed over 1830 adults and children in the Blandford area, and were expecting to have fed well over 2000 by the beginning of 2022.
Donations were sought of not only food items – tinned meat, vegetables and soup as well as tea, coffee, milk and squash – to distribute to families in December and in the New Year, but also toys for young children at Christmas.
The Food Bank was one of the recipients of a collection of donated toys for local charities by Blandford Rotary in October and November, and they also donated a total of £300.
Wessex Internet also delivered a car load of toys collected by staff at their offices in Shroton.
Blandford Lions and Stour Rotary donated £700 worth of Matos meat vouchers, and the Lions also presented a 32inch TV and DVD player just before Christmas for a raffle to raise funds for the charity at the Crown Hotel.
Town councillors have agreed in principle to the setting up of a service level agreement providing funding for the charity over a number of years, subject to further discussions and receipt of further details.
Earlier discussions encountered a stumbling block in that the council seeks to appoint a representative to the managing board of organisations in receipt of such an agreement, and the Food Bank, part of Faithworks Wessex, required any such representative to be a practising Christian.
At meetings in December Food Bank manager Gail del Pinto described work the organisation undertook in addition to providing an increasing number of food parcels, including support for improved IT skills with the provision of reconditioned laptops, and plans to establish a Pantry for Blandford. She advised that it was no longer a requirement for a council representative to have a faith commitment, and the council agreed to consider the application again in the New Year once supporting accounts and a business plan had been provided.