26/1/2021 Foodbank newsletter January 2021
North Herts Food Provision Christmas supply
Hitchin and Letchworth families receive essential food hampers at Christmas and beyond
Volunteers in Hitchin delivered over 300 presents to children last Christmas. The presents were delivered on Christmas Eve along with two hampers of luxury food to 36 families in Hitchin and Letchworth by local organisation Feed Up Warm Up, in partnership with Catholic charity Caritas Westminster. This project was part of an ongoing programme to support families who have been seriously impacted by the Covid Crisis, and already in 2021 the numbers seeking help have increased dramatically.
Throughout December more than 20 volunteers – including England Goalkeeper David James – put together parcels which included toys and gifts for parents and children, and all the requirements for a Christmas dinner. This was made possible thanks to the North Hertfordshire District Council who provided supermarket vouchers, Caritas Westminster and local residents who donated gifts and luxury food items. Local shops, Morrisons and Wilkinsons organised a toy appeal to help fill the Christmas sacks.
The parcels were received with gratitude by the families who would otherwise have struggled to provide Christmas presents and the usual treats for their children. One mother sent this thank you message, typical of many others:
“Thank you all for the amazing treats and gifts you gave us, not only for today but throughout most of this year. We really appreciate everything you have done and are beyond grateful to have had a somewhat normal Christmas thank to all your help and generosity. Have a blessed Christmas and God bless you all.”
Many of the families who received these hampers have been supported since May 2020 by Feed Up Warm Up, a homelessness outreach project, in collaboration with Caritas Westminster and the Hitchin Food Provision Team, a local initiative set up in response to the Covid Crisis. Between May and September Feed Up Warm Up delivered more than 1900 nutritious hot meals to these families, as well as food parcels which continue to be provided for an average of 40 families a week with referrals growing.
Caritas Westminster, which is involved in a wide range of social action projects across North London and Hertfordshire, has supported Feed Up Warm Up’s work with the Homeless since the project began two years ago. Liz Wills, Caritas Development Worker told us “The difference now is the number of families with children who are coming forward needing support. These are people who may have never needed help before but who have seen a dramatic cut in their income since the coronavirus lockdown”
Liz went on to talk about the effect of the current lockdown “Already this month we are supporting fourteen more families and we have now extended our support to people in Stevenage. And this is just around half of the families who have approached the Hitchin Food Provision Team for help”
Caritas Westminster have seen a similar picture across the Westminster diocese where they work. Elsewhere the charity has provided supermarket vouchers worth nearly £175,000 to 122 schools and church groups since last March. This has been a lifeline for over 6,000 people from around 1800 households.
As winter approaches and the effects of coronavirus continue to trap people in poverty, food banks in the Trussell Trust network are forecast to give out a staggering six emergency food parcels every minute. This is not right.
Our new research, carried out with Heriot Watt University, estimates 846,000 parcels will need to be provided by our network to people in crisis during October to December 2020 – a 61% increase on last year. And an additional 670,000 people will be destitute by the end of the year, meaning they cannot afford essentials like housing, energy, and food.
15/5/2020 Foodbank Update May2020v2
Christmas Hampers report
For full report click here 2019 Christmas Hamper Overview-1
Click on link for full details North Herts Food Provision Timetable
Our Lady’s parish is host to the Foodbank serving Letchworth, Hitchin and Baldock. Our Scout Hall is open for people requiring food in return for vouchers, on Tuesdays and Fridays 10am – 12pm.
The church also holds supplies of vouchers for eligible clients who need a supply of food.
The foodbank always requires supplies of food – for more details of current shortages please see the Foodbank website or click below. There is a new initiative to support families who receive free school meals, over the summer period and lists of items needed are on the Child summer lunch link below.
For the latest newsletter please click here Newsletter Feb 2020