Market Drayton Foodbank reflects on eight years of feeding families – and hopes it won't be needed in another eight

A town's food bank has marked its eighth anniversary by thanking those who have helped it feed thousands of people in need – though its manager said that she hopes there will be no need for food banks in another eight years' time.

[generic foodbank pic, trying to sort new ones]
[generic foodbank pic, trying to sort new ones]

Market Drayton Foodbank was founded in November 2012 and has been managed ever since by Helen McSherry and her team of volunteers.

The project was set up in partnership with town churches and with help from the Trussell Trust. Those who are referred to the centre can receive emergency food parcels, prepared at the Parish Rooms in Church Street.

During the coronavirus pandemic the service has helped even more people, with referrals this summer up threefold compared to previous years.

Helen McSherry reflected on the eight years, writing: "We still have volunteers with us that remember that day – it was a Tuesday and we had two vouchers brought into us and we fed three adults and four children.

"We were based in the Starmer Room in the Parish Rooms where we greeted clients, served tea and coffee, had one 'choices' trolley and only a handful of volunteers.

"During our session today, we again had only a handful of volunteers but for a very different reason. On that day, I would never have guessed where our food bank would be in eight years' time. I didn't think it would exist any longer than a few years and today we are still here, in the middle of a pandemic and feeding more people than ever before.

'It is an absolute disgrace that in this day and age, in this country, we have had to do this'

"Hundreds of local people, businesses, organisations, groups, churches, schools and others have very kindly and generously donated food. Around 60 to 70 referral agencies have diligently referred people in crisis to us.

"Volunteers, management committee members and trustees are still doing an absolutely fantastic job and every one of them, who has given selflessly over the past eight years, should be immensely proud of themselves and I thank them all.

"Since Market Drayton Foodbank opened this day, eight years ago, we have given out 4,760 food parcels feeding 12,833 people in crisis – that's 7,787 adults and 5,046 children.

"We have received 150 tonnes of food and distributed 139 tonnes of it. 801 children have been fed, with three tonnes of food producing 4,023 meals to prevent them from being hungry during school holidays.

"This is a tremendous achievement, in terms of feeding those in need and preventing hunger, but it is an absolute disgrace that in this day and age, in this country, we have had to do this!

"I very much hope and pray that in another eight years' time, Market Drayton Foodbank will be in the history books, that the service is no longer needed and local people can feed themselves despite a crisis. This is what we must strive to achieve and when we achieve this, it will be an awesome day!"

How to get and give help

To get help from the food bank, the first step is to be referred. Call or email the team (01630 654007 or info@marketdrayton.foodbank.org.uk) to talk through issues and begin the process.

Food banks do more than just provide food, and volunteers can talk through issues like debt and employment, or refer to specialist services.

Parcels are being delivered during the coronavirus crisis, and distribution days are Tuesdays and Fridays.

Food can be donated to the team at the drop off points at Asda, Savers, Sainsbury's and Morrisons in Market Drayton, Co-op in Loggerheads, or at the Parish Rooms on Tuesdays and Fridays.

A list of what is most needed is updated regularly on the food bank website. Some of the items needed this week are tinned corned beef and ham, soup, gluten free and reduced sugar, as well as size 2 nappies.

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