LATEST NEWS FROM THE FOOD BANK.
Jon and Janet Wheeler attended the meeting on behalf of the Dover Foodbank and presented two certificates to the St Paul’s Parish in recognition of the excellent level of support provided by the parishioners in support of local people in crisis.
Certificate 1 showed that between September 2013 and September 2015 the parish donated 3.18 tons of food.
Certificate 2 showed that for this year up to and including September the parish has donated 1.14 tons of food.
A third certificate was awarded to Marie McMonagle, Cambridge Weight Plan in recognition of donations amounting to £232.
All three certificates are displayed in order to inform parishioners and customers respectively.
Since it’s inception in 2013 the DFB has received 45.50 tons and distributed 33 tons.
Currently the DFB have 4-5 months of food in stock.
Any surpluses of food items eg baked beans or pasta are exchanged for surplasses recorded in other foodbanks for which the DFB has need.
Financial donations are always appreciated as this helps towards the warehouse rent, the running of a small pickup and delivery van and when necessary paying for essential food items that the DFB does not have in storage or can secure from a local Foodbank.
Currently on average 146 people are using the Foodbank each month.
Over 50% of people with vouchers are single persons and over 40% are families both traditional and single parent.
The DFB generally provide more ‘food per mouth’ than the recommended Trussel Trust guidelines.
In addition to receiving food each person is also given three menus on the back of which is a prayer.
There are 95 volunteers helping in various ways. The number allows for adequate cover eg. for holidays.
Fortunately the level of Parish donations has been maintained at a good level over the last 2 years and donation fatigue has not been a problem in Dover.
Sincere thanks to all St Paul’s parishioners who have helped the Foodbank in any way.
Does Dover have a Food Bank?
The Dover Food Bank took shape during summer 2013 under the auspices of Christians Together in Dover (CTiD) with guidance from the Trussell Trust. This involved a great deal of work including: * advertising for and subsequently training volunteers for different roles, * recruiting donation organisations and individuals (thus ensuring a regular, uninterrupted flow of food to the DFB) * finding premises for storage and distribution, * organizing and promoting a voucher collection scheme by which people in need of temporary emergency food support (3 days) could be issued with a voucher and redeem it for food at the local distribution centre. On hearing of this work St Paul’s Parish was keen to become involved and an initial meeting took place in August 2013 to discuss the Dover Food Bank and the best ways in which parish could become involved.
When was the St Paul’s Dover Food Bank Group Formed?
A number of parishioners attended a meeting in August 2013 and the St Paul’s Food Bank group was established. Two of the group agreed to liaise and be the ‘main contact point’ between the Dover Food Bank and St Paul’s Group. Procedures were agreed which have been successfully followed ever since including the use of green boxes for donations being put out over the last weekend of each calendar month. The St Paul’s Food Bank Group has held regular meetings over the last year to review progress within St Paul’s and the wider parish and to keep up to date with Dover Food Bank matters. There is no strict membership of the St Paul’s Group and any parishioner is welcome to attend the meetings. In addition to being a group member some of the group are also volunteers at the Dover Food Bank warehouse and distribution centres. Further one of the group is a business woman. She and her customers have consistently supported the initiative from the beginning by being generous food donators. (At the bottom of this item is an account of this business woman’s experience with of being a food donation site in Dover) Over the first year we have held monthly meetings but now that the Food Bank is well established it was agreed that quarterly meetings would be sufficient. These will be held in January, April, July and October on dates to be published in the parish bulletin and in the news section of this web site.
Are the St Pauls Parishioners Regular Donators of Food?
The level of support from the parish has been excellent with the quantity of monthly donations being both high and consistent. This is appreciated by the Dover Food Bank organising committee. We will continue to report a) monthly total weight of donations each month in the parish bulletin as well as b) quarterly and end of year totals.
When and Where and Do Parishioners Donate Food at St Pauls Church?
The last weekend of each calendar month is the regular donation weekend.
Anyone can donate food at St Pauls Church even if you are not a catholic because St Pauls is a donation centre. All donated food is passed onto to the DFB with 3 days of it being donated at St Pauls.
Donations can be deposited in one of the large green boxes located on the left hand side of re church before or after any of the masses and especially before or after the 6pm Saturday Night (Vigil) mass as well as at the 9.30 am or 11am Sunday masses
Does the Donated Food Play Any Part in Mass?
Representatives of St Paul’s parishioners attending all three weekend masses on the last weekend / donation weekend process a small selection of donated items to the Altar as part of the offertory procession. This includes children as the 9.30 am children’s / family mass, as well as adults at the 6pm Saturday night vigil mass and 11am Sunday mass. Other parts of the offertory procession include water and wine and weekly money donations all of which are expressions of ‘work of our hands’ which we offer to God as part of our praise and thanksgiving.
What does the Dover Food Bank Do with the Donated Food it Receives?
Over the last year up to August 2014 the Dover Food Bank have distributed from all its contributors, of which St Pauls is only one: * over 14 tons of food to * to 1500 persons who each received 3 days of emergency food – which equates to 4500 food days. So far the warehouse has had adequate stocks of food (and some non-food items) in order to meet demand. At a recent stock take there was about 7.5 tons in the warehouse. The demand continues as shown at one recent session which was attended by 35 persons in need.
How Can I Contact the Dover Food Bank Directly?
The Dover Food Bank has their own website http://dover.foodbank.org.uk containing news, information and other web links to other related organisations. This includes up to date details of the items to be donated and those which the Food Bank is short of.
How Can I Become a Dover Food Bank Volunteer?
If you are thinking about offering your skills and talents as a volunteer please contact the DFB via their website http://dover.foodbank.org.uk
A St Pauls Parishioner (Business Woman’s) Experience of Being a Food Donation Site in Dover
“When I first heard about the Dover Food Bank a year ago I knew I wanted to get involved. I was confident that my client base would be supportive. I run a small business in Dover and work with a lot of women with children. I felt sure they would want to donate and, by doing so, make a real difference to people in the district. What soon became clear through conversations is that there are two groups of people based on what each group think the DFB is all about. First, there are those who have not experienced circumstances in their life of a type that would necessitate them having to be referred a food bank. Second, those who have known hardship in their life and are perhaps still experiencing tight times or could envisage such times returning and could, therefore, emphasise with people who find themselves in need of food and having to be referred to the DFB. Regardless of which of these two groups the women belong to the majority were prepared to help in one of two main ways. First, donating items of food. Second donating money. The green donation boxes were always full at collection time. One woman, at Christmas 2013, even went to the trouble of producing some amazing gift wrapped hampers. I have spoken to one woman who was vehemently against the idea of food banks. She said that she didn’t want to give people who chose to put themselves first by drinking and smoking away their money. I said that to her that those people would always drink and smoke but at least we were making sure that their children were having a bowl of soup or beans on toast; something warm and nourishing in their tummies. Over the past 12 months I have been educating the donors about the DFB; reassuring them that it is not a misused service and that there are strict procedures in place for people wanting to aces it. It is not a free for all service. Finally, the DFB really encourages the idea of community which can so often take ‘a back seat’ these days. The DFB is very close to my heart and is an important part of my life. Being involved is such a positive experience.”
If you wish to find out any more information regarding the Dover Food Bank, please visit the website: www.dover.foodbank.org.uk