New record numbers of people are being seen at Shrewsbury food bank, our Rotary club has been told.
“We are seeing 500 people more than this time last year,” said Karen Williams, foodbank PLUS Project Lead at the Barnabas Centre, speaking at a meeting of Shrewsbury Severn Rotary Club. “From April 2021 to today we provided food and household items for 1,181 adults and 917 children – 44% of our client base is children whereas it used to be mainly single men and single women.
The foodbank PLUS was the third oldest food bank in the country, opening as Basics Bank in 1997 when people were given food so they could pay off a debt. She said the food bank forward planned six months and she praised her ‘amazing team’ of 60 volunteers whom she said were all ‘incredible.’ “We are not just a food bank,” said Karen, “we want to equip people as well – we give them the tools and skills and the need not to use the food bank.”
She said this was provided through Acts 435, a national website, Barnabas Money Advice and the 360 initiatives for which referrals came from all over the county.
One group finds it more difficult to use the foodbank and that is older people. “The issue with older people is they are really proud and feel they shouldn’t use a food bank. But we are there for everyone.”
She added that the volunteers of foodbank PLUS had won a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – equivalent to an MBE.
Shrewsbury Severn Rotary Club president John Yeomans said the passion shown in her delivery was ‘immense.’ He added: “The job you and your volunteers are doing is just terrific. When we undertook to give our dinner monies to the food bank when we were not meeting we had limited understanding and it is most heartening to know it has been wisely spent. It’s an amazing piece of work you are doing with your team.”