Our donation station was once again heavily populated by very generous donations from BRFC members and the local community. In our second week, we were pleasantly surprised to have exceeded the donations of the first week, so thank you all! Over 10 crates of food/household items were packed into three cars and delivered to Spotlight that very afternoon.

Jess and I were so overwhelmed by the amazing work this charity does that we wanted to help further. So, in addition to hosting the Donation Station, we volunteered our time to help cover some shifts in the actual foodbank itself.

Seeing how hard charities like this run is a real eye opener. We have been able to follow the journey of how your donations get sorted, packed and delivered to the elderly, the vulnerable and those in financial difficulties. And we thought you might like to hear about it.

Last week alone, Spotlight made and delivered 665 food parcels, feeding 1465 people so you can see the importance of such a charity in this time of need.

As with any charity, their reliance is on the generosity of the community and whilst they are totally appreciative of this (and I can’t stress how important it is we still keep giving as much as possible) unfortunately it’s still not enough to feed those during this pandemic in our local area.

Local supermarkets and suppliers play a huge part in this too. We had the job of collecting supplies from supermarkets and the foodbank donations that customers have left. So off on a magical mystery tour of supermarket service yards we go to pack them into our car and take back to the foodbank HQ. Spotlight also receive some government grant funding as well as aided by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council. But this funding is limited so on top of making care packages, they have to source funding to keep it going. They currently spend £1300 per day, six days a week to feed 1400 people per week. This is why we have to support this charity.

So, as well as sorting through donations, securing external financial support, they also have to do a mad shopping trip, masked and gloved up with (usually) 10 trolleys and a transit van to buy additional supplies to fulfil a family’s basic food requirement. You can imagine the looks we received as we skipped the queues and packed our trolleys with 40 bags of carrots, dozens of bags of potatoes, tins galore, long-life milk in abundance and frozen goods. But they have an agreement with the supermarket that they don’t leave the shelves empty of any one particular item to ensure there is enough for the general public.

Once it’s paid for, it’s taken back to the foodbank and the hard work of packing it all away begins. I knew it was going to be hard work and these guys do this day in, day out, but the manual work involved is intense. Never again will I complain about unpacking my own family shop! There’s a team who know what families need in each care package and so the packing begins. With the help of local taxi drivers and volunteers, these food parcels are then delivered to the doors of people around Basingstoke.

During this unsettling time, it’s lovely to know that there are angels helping others...and you are part of that chain, so once again thank you for your donations and keep them coming. And if you have a spare couple of hours that you could spare to help at the foodbank, please email: admin@spotlightuk.org

Stay safe and well and we look forward to coming out of this the other side.

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