Thursday, 21 October 2021

Henley Bridge Rotary Club

HENLEY Bridge Rotary Club was delighted to welcome Sue Prior, from the Henley food bank, as the speaker at its Zoom meeting on July 22.

The club donated £1,925 to the food bank during the coronavirus lockdown. This included gift aid of £385.

Sue told members that between March to June the food bank made deliveries to 125 households with between one and eight people, which equated to 674 parcels, or 1,570 bags of food.

This was a substantial increase on the same period last year when 85 parcels were delivered.

Sue said there had also been monetary donations, which had allowed food vouchers to be distributed to needy families.

The vouchers could be a very important addition to a household’s income, allowing them to buy fresh fruit and vegetables and providing access to specialist foods which some people required for dietary reasons. Sue said that delivering food parcels allowed Nomad, the youth and community group which runs the food bank, to keep in touch with people even if only with a doorstep conversation.

This was important because for some people the food bank delivery was their only face-to-face contact during the lockdown.

As everyone is aware, loneliness and the lack of contact with others can have a very serious effect on mental health and wellbeing.

Sue said that at the beginning of the lockdown there was a marked increase in the number of single older people who contacted the food bank because they were suddenly unable to go out and had no one close to help with shopping.

The local community had been very generous during this difficult time.

On occasions there had been a glut of staple food products, for example, cornflakes and porridge.

These goods were put together with chocolate or other ingredients which had been sent out with recipes, which led to a boost in families cooking. Lots of photos of these delicious cakes had been posted on the Nomad website.

At Easter a lot of chocolate eggs were donated, which made a difference to the younger recipients, but also to an older man who said it was the first time in 10 years he had received one.

Sue finished by saying that Nomad was alive and well and had worked extremely hard over the lockdown period and had felt extremely privileged to serve the local community, particularly through the food bank.

Finally, she thanked the Pirate Pizza boat for providing 24 pizzas each week for people using the food bank.

For more information about Rotary and the club’s Zoom meetings, call Annie Lathaen on 07769 687326.

Annie Lathaen

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