At the start of this year, an article in the South Wales Argus really hit home for us. The article focused on the growing need for food banks in our local area, and launched a desperate appeal for more donations.
In Wales alone, Trussell Trust foodbanks donated 95,190 emergency food supply packs in 2016-2017. These packs supply those in need with emergency food supplies which last for just 3 days.
Of these emergency packs, 5,266 were given out in Pontypool, Cwmbran and Blaenavon – areas where a large proportion of our staff live.
We’ve made it our mission throughout 2018 to support people in our local area who may be struggling. Whilst we often join in on the big national campaigns, and will continue to do so, there’s a real problem with people in our area living below the poverty line and we want to help those closest to home.
In February, we delivered an amazing amount of food essentials to food banks in Cwmbran and Pontypool. Thanks to the generosity of our staff, a huge total of 250KG of food was donated. This equates to long-lasting food packages for 25 individual people or large food packages for 15 struggling families in the area.
After the grateful reception we received from representatives at the foodbanks, we decided to chat to volunteers about what to donate next.
As much as everyone needs plain, essential food items to feed themselves and their families, it’s nice to have a treat every now and again. Volunteers advised us that they’re often left heartbroken after witnessing children who are made fun of at school because they don’t have the treats that other pupils may find in their lunchbox.
The same situation occurs during special occasions such as Christmas and Easter. How can a parent in poverty afford a sack of gifts or sweet treats for their children when they’re struggling to even put basic food on the table?
We agreed entirely with the volunteers’ statement that no child should miss out, just because their family may be struggling financially. No child should be made fun of because of their situation at home, or miss out on treats that are a staple in most of our childhoods.
Conveniently, with Easter just around the corner, we grabbed the opportunity to put a smile on some kids’ faces in Torfaen.
This month, at the usual collection points, staff were not asked to donate a tin of beans or a bag of rice, but instead an ‘eggstra special’ contribution - an Easter egg for a child who might not otherwise get a visit from the Easter bunny this year.
As always, our staff did not disappoint. Our meeting room and reception area was piled high with Easter treats!
From Barbie to Paw Patrol, Mars Bar to Mini Egg, and even some thoughtful dairy-free options, there was enough choice to put a smile on the face of lots of little ones.
We were so inundated with generous donations that we decided to split the eggs between two local charities, spreading our donations across Torfaen, Newport and Blaenau Gwent.
These eggs didn’t cost us much, but would have definitely made Easter morning much happier for local families.
A huge thank you to everyone who donated, and we hope you have a cracking Easter! (we’ll stop the puns now, we promise…)