On 19 November, 22 members of Reepham WI enjoyed an inspirational presentation by Tim Morton, Project Manager for Cromer & District Food Bank. It was the first such meeting via Zoom and proved to be a resounding success.
Tim explained that the food bank, which comes under the umbrella of the Trussell Trust, covers an area of 200 square miles, from Stalham to Wells-next-the-Sea, with seven distribution centres.
The focus is to meet the immediate needs of people experiencing food poverty, as well as working in tandem with government agencies, for example social services, to ensure no one falls through the net and, ultimately, to help steer struggling families towards self-sufficiency.
A startling statistic is that in the year to October they have helped 4,000 people, an increase of 45% on the same period in 2019.
Thankfully, donations to date, from individuals as well as supermarkets, independent traders and church groups, are up 60%.
Another interesting detail that members were not aware of is that the food bank also helps with “fuel poverty”, which can have a wide-ranging, devastating effect on those without heating or even hot water. This initiative is funded separately by monetary donations.
With Christmas fast approaching, Tim tabled a “wish list” of items they are hoping to include in food parcels during December to give a little festive cheer to their clients.
Reepham WI members certainly listened to what Tim had to say and what he is hoping to achieve, and subsequently organised a collection that exceeded all expectations, so it was decided to share a third of the items with Mid Norfolk Foodbank Food Bank in Dereham.
Thank you to all WI members and residents who so kindly donated – both Cromer and Dereham food banks are hugely appreciative.
For anyone wishing to donate to the food banks, the Reepham benefice’s permanent collection point was relocated from St Mary’s to Diane’s Pantry in Reepham Market Place at the beginning of the pandemic.
The newly opened Co-op on Station Road also has a collection box by the exit.