Here is an introduction to our project.
Knowsley Foodbank is based at the Business Resources Centre (BRC) in Kirkby and has 9 distribution centres across the Borough. Distribution centres are staffed by well trained, enthusiastic volunteers.
Food is donated from a variety of sources including churches, schools and individuals and stored in our warehouse at the BRC. We estimate that we will need up to 60-70 tonnes of food for the financial year April 2014 to April 2015. We hold a stock of around 8 tonnes of food at any time and the turn around of food is rapid and extremely well organised. We have a warehouse worker who is assisted by several volunteers. At the end of April 2014, between the Knowsley Foodbank and the Emergency Support Scheme (see below) we fed over 8000 people! and the number continues to grow.
Knowsley people who are in crisis can apply for a Foodbank voucher from many frontline services such as schools, Citizens Advice, welfare advice centres and health care professionals. They present the voucher to a distribution centre and are given 3 day’s worth of food for themselves and their family. Whenever possible, subject to availability, we also offer fresh fruit and vegetables and toiletries. Whilst they are at the distribution centre clients are offered refreshments and a chance to talk with one of the volunteers. Often clients are signposted to another agency who may be able to help them to ensure the crisis is resolved.
We have been working with a local chef/food expert to improve not only the food we offer but the advice we give to our clients. As a result of this work we have developed Foodbankxtra.
We have developed an extra list of items that we ask people to donate in addition to what they already donate. We appreciate this adds to the cost of what they donate but each extra item is very inexpensive to buy but will make a big difference to our client’s ability to use the food in a more effective way. Hopefully, the fresh fruit and veg will continue but the vegetables will change slightly and we will include 6 free range eggs.