"The community really opened their hearts during lockdown, it was amazing. We received a lot of donations from domestic gardens, fruit growers and the farming community."
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When the Marlborough Community Food Bank was set up in 1991, it was only expected to be temporary. But 30 years later, the need in our community is greater than ever.
I first started volunteering with the food bank in 2006 and have been the manager since 2013. We have a great group of 25-30 people who volunteer their time to pack parcels, deliver parcels, pick up donations, and sort inwards goods.
It was certainly a bit of an eye opener when I first started. You might think people getting food parcels are unemployed, but more than 30% of families receiving food parcels are working families who still can’t afford to put food on the table. That is a very sad situation.
During levels 3 and 4 we had to cut down to six volunteers to ensure we complied with the social distancing rules. It was a logistical challenge, because we were busier than usual at that time - we did double the number of parcels in April and May, compared to the same time last year.
Support from the community has been amazing. Marlborough people were very generous in our annual street appeal in November (The Marlborough Foodbank Street Appeal), so our stocks were looking really healthy ahead of lockdown.
Food donations slowed during lockdown because people weren’t shopping as much, but we had some very generous monetary donations from families, service clubs such as the Blenheim Lions Club, and local businesses, which put us in a good position.
The community really opened their hearts during lockdown, it was amazing. We received a lot of donations from domestic gardens, fruit growers and the farming community.
And we’ve never had so many offers to help as during lockdown, with people who weren’t working wanting to do something useful with their time. We really can’t thank everyone enough.
My hope for Marlborough is that people continue to be kind and watch out for others. Involve young people, encourage them to engage with the wider world and be more aware of what’s going on around the community, and the future for everybody will be a bit brighter.