The food bank’s year

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Rye Food Bank volunteers gowned and masked as they handle deliveries

One year into the Covid-19 pandemic and so much has changed.  We never could have believed that the food bank would get through the crisis of last spring unscathed.  But we did, not only unscathed, but improved!

The special measures introduced because of the pandemic focused our minds on our organisation and efficiency.  We were always organised, but now we are efficiently organised, with electronic stock management, professional standard shelving and storage, and always knowing exactly how much is in our cupboards and how much money we need to keep going. It was as if the increased dependence inspired us to improve our service, along with gaining new volunteers with excellent skills.

In early April last year when the number of weekly clients suddenly jumped from about 40 to 400 it was really difficult for quite a few weeks to source the food we needed to meet demand – and there were national shortages of a wide range of staple foods such as tinned tomatoes, potatoes and tinned meat.

Then Jempson’s stepped up to help and began to support the food bank with large quantities of supplies and donated goods that were in short supply.  Also Rother District Council helped us enormously by using their trade contacts to provide large deliveries of goods and groceries, a total of more than one and a half tonnes.

Demand remains constant

Demand remains constant at present at around 200 clients and efficient systems have been developed in Rye to handle this demand in a single two hour session per week. Two teams of volunteers work several hours each week behind the scenes to achieve this. Strong local associations have been forged in our community and the support for the food bank is wonderful.

We are now working on tightly managed mechanisms to draw people out of crisis and into independence as this is our overall objective longer term – and thank you everyone who donates to us.

Donating to your local food bank is one of the best ways you can help your community at this time. Every donation is appreciated, no matter how large or small. Financial donations help us maintain balanced and adequate stocks and it is easy to send us money or bring cash.

All donations directly benefit members of your local community. We do not spend anything benefitting anyone outside our local area.

Contact details for Rye Food Bank

Phone: 07526 349847 or email: ryefoodbank@gmail.com

We are open at the Baptist hall, behind the church in Cinque Ports Street in Rye on Wednesdays from 9am for donations and the food bank is open from 1pm until 3pm. The Rye Food Bank phone number is not manned all the time, but you can leave a message and we will respond. Email is better and this is monitored several times during the day and in the evening.

Donations make a big difference

Monetary donations can be sent to the Bexhill Food Bank Rye Branch at Barclays Bank, sort code 20-54-25, account number 83501116, through the Jempson Foundation or cheques to Rye Food Bank c/o 24 North Salts, Rye. If you donate via the Jempson Foundation and are a taxpayer, gift aid can be applied, thereby increasing the value of the donation by 25% at no cost to the donor.  If you make a bank transfer please do send us a message (via ryefoodbank@gmail.com) so we know who it is from and can send a receipt, if required.

If you need help from Rye Food Bank, contact Rother District Citizens Advice (CAB) on 01424 215055; email: help@rotherdistrictcab.org.uk, or the Hastings Advice &  Representation Centre (HARC) on 0333 344 0681; email: info@harcuk.com.

Image Credits: Mags Ivatts .

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