Foodbank is here for everyone

WOKING Foodbank is appealing to local residents who have fallen on hard times during the pandemic to seek help before their problems escalate.

Alison Buckland, the foodbank administrator, said many people think foodbanks are only for the unemployed or are embarrassed to ask for help.

Woking Foodbank volunteers Michael and Lisa load emergency packs at the new warehouse in Knaphill

“This year we have seen people referred to the foodbank who haven’t been referred before and who you might not expect,” Alison said.

“We are increasingly being seen as neighbours helping neighbours, but there is still a stigma in using a foodbank.”

She said many people who face temporary difficulties don’t think a foodbank is for them.

“Some try to manage as long as they can before they are forced to ask for help.”

The sign at the new warehouse that signals it is open to receive donations

Foodbank vouchers are given to those in need by various agencies.

Alison said anyone experiencing financial difficulties should contact Citizens Advice Woking, their social worker, health visitor, council housing department or through their children’s primary school.

This week the foodbank opened its new site in Knaphill and is asking for donations of Christmas-themed goods.

The 2,000sq ft warehouse on the Lansbury Estate in Lower Guildford Road is twice the size of the space the foodbank had at Titan Storage in Sheerwater and has heating and water.

Deliveries can be made between 10am and noon on Mondays and Thursdays and from 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Wednesdays.

Alison said donations can be put into a crate outside the warehouse or at the foyer.

She said only items left during the opening hours can be accepted and anything left at any other times will have to be thrown away.

A selection of donated goods

Alison said local residents have been so generous this year that there is little need for the regular items, but festive treats are very welcome.

“We need things such as Christmas biscuits, cakes and treats for children,” Alison said.

She said the foodbank had to buy some items at the start of the pandemic, but its shelves have been filling up with donations throughout the rest of the year.

“We are very grateful for the huge support and when things get difficult, people get even more generous.”

Alison said the move from Sheerwater to the Lansbury Estate has taken about six weeks, with a big push last weekend to move the last items.

The foodbank recently took on 35 extra volunteers with a total base of 115.

Coronavirus has meant that some of the longstanding volunteers have been unable to help, but they are slowly coming back.

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