Last year we fed more than 3,700 people, which sadly means we saw a 40% increase on our 2017 figures. In December we fed a total of 564 people compared to 270 in December 2017. Shockingly this is more than double.
The good news is that our Christmas fundraising campaigns were a huge success. We were able to raise enough money to be able to give our clients vouchers for local butchers and greengrocers for a fresh Christmas dinner. We also were able to give some clients a one-off top up for their gas/electric keycards so that they could cook their fresh Christmas food.
All in all we spent over £5,200 through December helping making people’s Christmas just a little bit better. This was alongside giving long life food/toiletries and our usual Christmas presents and advent calendars.
We couldn’t have done any of this without the amazing support of local people, local businesses like Exxon, The Family Building Society, the local butchers we used – Ben’s Butchers, Hammonds, Radfords – Garry’s greengrocers in Ashtead and local churches, schools, charities and many individuals that supported us to raise the funds for our Christmas campaign.
Jonathan Lees (foodbank manager) said: “We set out to help local people aiming to raise £3,500. We were stunned that we were able to raise over £5,000 to support the community in what for many is a sad and lonely time of year. After seeing the dramatic increases in our numbers, to be able to do this was amazing.”
The 40% increase we have seen just drives us on even more to address the root causes of poverty. This year we are launching a new initiative called a Poverty Truth Commission. This is based on allowing people in poverty to tell their story so that we can begin to look at the causes and how to address them, leading hopefully to a foodbank exit strategy.
Surely there shouldn’t be a need for a Foodbank in Surrey!