There are many reasons people can find themselves struggling to make ends meet and when families have no financial safety net a crisis such as bereavement, benefit delay, redundancy or illness can leave them unable to feed themselves or their families.
Norwich Foodbank helps local families through the provision of vital food supplies. They work closely with schools and local care organisations to identify and support those in crisis and provide nutritionally balanced food boxes that cover the needs of individuals or families for 72 hours – the critical time gap before other services can kick in.
How does it work? Local organisations and care workers identify households that, for any number of reasons, have found themselves on the edge of disaster, and provide them with a food voucher. They are then referred to their nearest Distribution Centre where they are met with a friendly welcome, a hot drink and a food box. The Centre also provides a listening ear and help finding relevant professional services that can assist with the underlying issues that have contributed to financial hardship.
Hannah Worsley, Project Manager at Norwich Foodbank, explained how FISH – Food (and Fun) In School Holidays was started as a result of seeing an increase in the number of families being referred to their services during the long school holidays. She said “We wanted to be proactive and do something to address this obvious need rather than just upping the number of food parcels being distributed.” They currently have 10 FISH clubs across Norwich and have provided 500 meals to local families during this summer holiday alone. Hannah went on to say “We’re pleased to have the support of so many amazing volunteers as well as supermarkets and businesses that donate food and staff time”.
For details of where to get food vouchers, a list of local distribution centres and a search facility for free or low cost services and activities in the area go to www.networknorwich.co.uk. You can also find lots of information on the brilliant services provided by Norwich Foodbank and suggestions of how you can help to support those in need in your community.