Since the COVID-19 lockdown came into force in March food banks have been set up in Castle Cary and Bruton. There was already a food bank operating in Wincanton and this has been expanded since the lockdown. Brue Valley Rotary Club got in touch with all of the food banks to establish whether a donation would help. The Wincanton food bank felt reluctant to accept Rotary’s offer believing that, at that moment in time, the money might be more useful elsewhere but Rotary will keep in touch to see if this changes.
In Castle Cary, “Cary Cares” has set up a food bank and Brue Valley Rotary donated £200 to fund their work. In addition, they provide free help with medicine delivery and shopping and a “listening ear”. It is run by volunteers and supported by Churches Together. They can provide over 100 shopping and prescription deliveries each week and since they launched they have handled over 800 calls on their helpline.
In Bruton, the Town Council has set up a Sunday food bank and there is also a private initiative called the Friday Food Drop run by Jane Lillie. Brue Valley Rotary has donated £162.50 to each of these food banks.
Jane Lillie, even before Covid-19, had perceived a need for such an organisation in Bruton. Bruton has areas where there are many people in need of support and Jane was aiming to support them. She, by word of mouth, had built up a list of ten or so addresses which she served even before Covid-9 hit us all.
For the Town Council food bank, people need to register on the Town Council website and they have a mixture of self referral, Church referrals and worried friends, family and neighbours. They have also had referrals from Bruton’s local dementia group. They are currently feeding in excess of sixty mouths a week and their aim is to provide a week’s worth of food and provisions, toilet rolls, sanitary products, nappies, pet food, toilet rolls etc. etc.
This costs around £20 per person per week. As the weeks have progressed they have seen many more in need and also people managing to come off the list because state benefits have come through. They anticipate spending another £10,000 in the coming weeks, quite possibly more, and Brue Valley Rotary stand ready to help.
In total, Brue Valley Rotary has donated £525 to these local food banks in April, which includes a £250 grant from the Rotary Foundation. More such grants are available and Brue Valley Rotary will make sure it stands ready to help those in need in these difficult times.
Pictures from the Friday Food Drop:
Pictures from the Sunday food bank: