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Reflecting on a whole year of the COVID-19 Pandemic

12th May 2021

The 23rd  March 2021 marked a year since the first National lockdown. As we reflect on the immense changes to life in that year, the loss of life, grief, and hardship so many have faced, we are also so blown away by the amazing things that have happened in our community and how our community has come together to support one another.
We can’t begin to express how grateful we are for all your support over the past year. Who could have predicted at the start of 2020 that we would be here today?
There is so much we want to communicate about what has happened over the past year, so to start, here is a timeline of the highlights of what has been happening with the Southwark Foodbank.

During the 2020/2021 year Southwark Foodbank

Distributed nearly 8,500 emergency food parcels
Supported 18,978 people with emergency food parcels (7,089 children and 11,889 adults)
Received 146,285kgs of food donations
Over 120 regular volunteers supported the foodbank
Over 100 local businesses, corporates, community groups, churches, mosques, and other groups supported us with donations of food and funds
Raised over £250,000 through our appeals and other donations

Summary of highlights from the year

March 2020
23 March – First National Lockdown
Southwark Foodbank Launched a COVID-19 Appeal
Closed 4 centres and kept Pecan open for collection. City Hope Church Welcome centre remained open for collection

April 2020
The foodbank started delivering 50 food parcels per day
City Hope Church distributed between 50-60+ food parcels per session once a week
Received over 400 volunteer offers
Mission Meals and Lumberjack coffee supply meals and sandwiches respectively for foodbank parcels
PedalMe supported with bikes and cyclists to deliver food parcels
Southwark Council Highways department provide vans and drivers to help deliver food
Trussell Trust organise food deliveries for Foodbanks from TESCO, Morrisons and ASDA. Using British Gas vans for deliveries.
We saw a 500% increase in need for foodbank support in Southwark
We had several supporters raise money for the foodbank through the virtual 2.16 Challenge

May 2020
We received an electric cargo bike through Sustrans and London Green Cycles to help with deliveries
The London Fire Brigade Red Watch and White Watch supported by delivering food parcels
Deliveries average 300 per week
We took on 40 Southwark Council deliveries every week for shielding residents.

June 2020
We moved our parcel preparation and packing operation from the Pecan building to Mountview
Deliveries drop to an average of 150 per week
We celebrated our amazing volunteers during National Volunteers’ Week
We took on local estate deliveries for Southwark Council working with tenant’s and residents’ associations

July 2020
Bankuet delivered over £5,000 worth of food to the foodbank in 4 months
The Southwark Foodbank’s COVID-19 Appeal hit £100k on 5th July
Wing Ting starts supporting the foodbank with regular donations

August 2020
Supported 1,559 people over August (985 adults and 574 children) a 325% increase on the same month in 2019.

September 2020 
Mid Year figures released – Between April and September the foodbank supported 11,064 people (6,945 adults and 4,119 children)
Moved out of Mountview as College re-opens
Opened new site at St George’s – Trinity Centre in Camberwell
Re-opened centres for collection only at St George’s, Bermondsey and Peckham Methodist churches.
Moved to a mixed in-person and delivery model
We joined the Zap the Zip campaign to stop the suspension of free travel in London for under 18s.

October 2020
Marcus Rashford campaigned for free holiday school meals for children across the UK
Re-opened 3 more centres including working closely with churches

November 2020
5 November – Second National Lockdown
Centres close again and we moved back to a delivery model 

December 2020
Received referrals for local families from schools and children’s services in Southwark for Christmas support
Our Christmas gift card project supported 103 families, including 267 children with Tesco vouchers and parcels
Southwark Foodbank Feed a Family Christmas Appeal Raised £19,816

January 2021
4th January 2021 – Third National Lockdown
Moved to a new direct e-referral system.

February 2021
Lent support for the Foodbank – 40for40campaign raises awareness and funds for the Southwark Foodbank

March 2021
Planning to re-open centres again and scale down deliveries to finish at the end of June
New online referral and voucher and delivery system designed and implemented

April 2021
Our COVID-19 Appeal raised £194,000 in one year! This will support running the foodbank as operational costs have more than doubled since March 2020.

Shout out to our volunteers!

None of what the foodbank has achieved over the past 12 months could have been at all possible without the support of our volunteers. We have relied on our volunteers to
– receive deliveries into the warehouse
– sort food
– pack food parcels
– deliver food parcels
– answer the phone in our office
– phone clients to arrange delivery

..and they have done everything with willing hearts and a real desire to be a support to people facing crisis in our community. Some joined us for a few days or hours, other months at a time and every single one has made a significant impact on their local community.

To our amazing volunteers, we can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for us this year! The foodbank relies on the selfless support of volunteers who give their time and energy to support our vital work.

Not only have our volunteers survived a pandemic and continued to give of their time and energy, they have done it with a cheer and positivity that has refreshed our sometimes exhausted team!

We can’t thank our volunteers enough for their tireless efforts over the past year! 

We received over 400 offers from people willing to volunteer with us during the pandemic and we are so grateful for each and every offer and wish we could have accommodated more people.

Thank you so much from the Southwark Foodbank Team!

Volunteering

If you are keen to volunteer with the Southwark Foodbank, we are currently looking for
– drivers to deliver food parcels and collect donations
– a volunteer to support with writing newsletters and updating the

Special Mentions

We want to say a big thank you to our supporters, donors, and local groups who have made such a difference over the past year. For everything they have helped with, we are so grateful!

We thought we’d make a list and name everyone from local businesses, corporates, and many others who supported us over the past year. The result was we made a list of over 100 supporters from all over the borough and other parts of London and the UK.

For the ongoing support, we want to say a special thank you to: The Trussell Trust, Bankuet, City Harvest, FareShare London, Glengall Wharf Garden, Peckham Cycling Club, Mountview, Wing Ting and so many more! We can’t name everyone but we appreciate every bit of support you’ve given us.

That’s a wrap on a big year

Thank you so much from the Southwark Foodbank Team!

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