‘Tis the season to be giving and eating too much.’ Whilst planning my Christmas it became quite apparent that my festive period is very driven by food and drink. However, this is not the case for everyone at Christmas. As we all know Foodbank donation baskets are popping up in most supermarkets all over the country. The thought of not being able to provide a meal for your family must be particularly difficult at this time of year, there’s no escaping Christmas! This notion inspired me to choose Epsom & Ewell Foodbank as my chosen charity for Jellybean’s 12 Days of Giving.

Epsom & Ewell Foodbank opened in October 2012 with one centre in Ewell and one in Epsom, they then added Leatherhead and Tadworth in September 2013, and finally Banstead in November 2014. Since they opened they have seen a steady increase in need. More than 2,500 people were fed in 2015 and numbers continue to rise.

The foodbank is run and requires approximately 200 hours of volunteering a week. Although the foodbank is run from a Christian ethos they have people from all walks of life involved at all levels. It’s an amazing example of the community working together, local people, churches, agencies, businesses and schools all doing their part.

The Foodbank’s mission is that they don’t think anyone in the community should have to face going hungry. That’s why they provide three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people who are referred to them in crisis. They are part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.

My morning started with a tour of the foodbank warehouse with the lead volunteer Brin. Such a lovely lady who has obviously devoted a lot of her time to organise and run the warehouse. The warehouse is sectioned into three areas; the sorting room, the store cupboard/container and the dispatch room. The food is all stored in expiration order and categories of food.

First job of the morning was to weigh and record all the food that had been donated that day. Donations were vast with a delivery from Tesco, Sainsburys and Smithkline Beecham’s to but name a few and the general public of course. Once the food is logged it is then sorted; food is unpacked and placed in categories and alphabetical order. The food is then taken into the store cupboard. Here there are crates and crates of food, all lined up by food type and in expiry date order. There are two ladies in the dispatch room, they are provided with a shopping list from each foodbank centre. They then take all the food and pack it up into crates. The food is then loaded onto the van and delivered by the volunteers. It’s a brilliant operation and runs like clockwork.

There’s a lot of work that goes on outside of the opening times of the centres. I came away with a huge respect for the volunteers who quietly put into practice, without preaching the Christian ethos of “For I was hungry, and you gave me food; I was thirsty, and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in.”

For more information please visit their website https://epsomewell.foodbank.org.uk/ and if you are out doing your weekly shop, just pick up that extra can of something and pop it into the donation basket after the tills.

Jellybean Creative is a leading foodservice pr and marketing agency. We help top brands with foodservice pr, foodservice marketing, digital and design. If you feel we could help you with your marcomms, strategy, public relations, creative or digital then drop your leading foodservice pr agency a line today.