The spirit of Christmas was alive and well during the month of December as the Keynsham Foodbank was overwhelmed by a deluge of food showing how generous the town and communities around are.
From December 1st to January 2nd the community in one way or another gave the foodbank 2,348.25Kgs of food, an absolutely amazing figure. This was made up of 1,284.2Kg from the drop boxes at Tesco and Waitrose, 965.65Kg from the schools in Keynsham and Saltford and some from just outside and finally private donations of 98.4Kg.
Foodbank Coordinator Alan Hale told us “We were absolutely staggered by the public response there was never any danger of us not being able to ease the burden on those in the community suffering a food crisis at this special time of year. We remember the gifts that the Magi brought to the Christ child and what the community did for the foodbank was equally amazing. The sadness is that the services of the foodbank continue to be relevant in our modern day society and much of the strain is being caused by the ill planned Universal Credit system. Equally many of our clients are visiting us because they are on a low wage, the need is not all about benefits.”
The help came from a whole range of sources, schools, a local junior football club, child care nurserys, PTAs, companies and individuals.
On one day, alone, December 19th the warehouse team handled 1,267.5 Kgs of food, made up of food coming in and food going out. This within some three hours work.
Warehouse Manager Stephanie Louis, herself a volunteer, told us “I am so proud of my team of volunteers who work so hard every week to receive and distribute food to the Distribution Centres and this year they have been challenged by the volumes but despite that they have achieved great things.”
In addition to the regular red voucher redemption service the distribution centres were also issuing school holiday food bags, which happens every long school holiday to help supplement the loss of a hot meal at school each weekday. Any child in receipt of free school meals or PIP can receive such a bag as long as they are within the Keynsham, Saltford and Chew Valley area.
Keynsham Foodbank has three Distribution Centres, two in Keynsham and one in Saltford.