Busy month for Salisbury Foodbank as need for support rises

IT HAS been a busy December for Salisbury Foodbank with demand for support increasing in the lead up to Christmas.

Figures as of December 23 showed that the city’s foodbank had supported 502 people this month – an increase of 46 (456). This is 4,518 emergency meals in the month.

“We have been non-stop since the beginning of the week. December has been exceptionally busy anyway,” she added. “It is really, really busy.”

Those figures were on top of the 250 Christmas boxes that were delivered to families in the area.

In total during 2021 so far it has supported more than 4,600 people which is over 41,000 meals to the community of SP1 to SP5 and SP9.

“This is an outstanding operation and wouldn’t be possible without our supporters, donors and wonderful team of volunteers,” said Maria.

Reasons for seeking help

The foodbank manager says there are a variety of different reasons leading people to need the support of the foodbank and that when she spent the day at the charity’s distribution centre at St Paul’s Church she found these included debts with mortgages and rents, changes to benefits and unexpected expenditure for example car repairs.

In just three hours, the charity supported 43 people – 19 adults, 24 children as well as a few dogs.

“We are starting to see more people coming to our doors through money related issues than we did previously at the beginning of the year and end of last year,” explains Maria.

The food bank is working with a free legal aid housing solicitor at the law centre and try to signpost people there to get advice.

She also says the foodbank has provided support to people that are homeless and sleeping in their cars due to family breakdowns and other reasons.

Maria says it has been an “exhausting” time for the foodbank team. The foodbank warehouse is also operating on reduced numbers due to Covid.

On November 1, 2020, Salisbury’s Trussell Trust foodbank became an independent, fully funded charitable organisation known as Salisbury Foodbank. This was to bring it in line with the other Trussell Trust foodbanks, which function as individual charitable units.

Food poverty in Salisbury

Speaking about poverty in Salisbury, Maria said: “Food poverty in the area, and poverty on the whole, is there and it is not really hidden. There are some spaces you might naturally consider like some of the big housing estates but even in the villages and in the rural communities there are pockets of poverty everywhere”

“High rents don’t really help and in social housing rents can sometimes be quite high,” she added. “It’s not spotted here, there and everywhere. It is not randomonly spotted sometimes it is along the same street. That kind of does ring alarm bells. It is not always in the streets you might expect it to be.”

Maria says the city is also lucky to have other food sharing agencies, which are “really valuable community commodities”. She added: “Poverty does exist in the city but we are fortunate that we have such a great community out there around us to support us and the people that need help.”

Visit: salisbury.foodbank.org.uk


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