Shockingly, since the start of the pandemic, statistics show an 200% rise in referrals to Breaking Bread and an 89% upsurge in food parcel demand from food banks in the Trussell Trust. The dramatic increase for services sadly emphasises how food poverty impacts individuals from all walks of life and all areas of the country.
Based in Wednesbury, Breaking Bread is an independently run foodbank, which helps people in the community who are struggling to afford food. Volunteers rely on local companies, schools and individuals to donate non-perishable food, drinks and toiletries.
The vital service supports those in crisis who are sent by referral agencies, such as Jobcentre Plus. Issued with a voucher, when individuals arrive, they swap it and are given food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Tea, coffee and snacks are also available.
In a bid to help tackle food poverty, this year we chose Breaking Bread to be our ‘Charity of the Year’. We already have a strong relationship with the foodbank – we’ve personally collected food, donated money, Christmas selection boxes, Easter Eggs, prizes for raffles, and have even sent our Directors and Chief Executive to volunteer.
Previously, Staff Forum have held bake off contests, car washes, coach trips, discos and tea parties to raise money for our chosen Charity of the Year. However, this year with lockdown, social distancing and employees working remotely, Staff Forum have thought of innovative ways to encourage donations. There’s been social media support, virtual quizzes, raffles, collection boxes placed around our sites and a Christmas card swap where staff can donate items to the foodbank instead of sending cards.
Currently, we’ve raised an incredible £1400 and have collected tonnes of donations. At the end of the year, Black Country Housing Group (BCHG) will match the amount of money raised.
Bobbie Wearing, a volunteer of seven years at Breaking Bread, and Employment Services Manager at BCHG said:
''As an independent foodbank, we have to also raise funds to pay our bills. We are extremely grateful to BCHG for choosing us as their Charity of the Year - the money they raise will make a significant difference to us and the people we help.
''It is only through the kindness of local companies, local people and our supporters such as BCHG, that we can stay open, and especially this year, give out more food parcels than ever before.’’
Breaking Bread are open on Wednesday 10am-3pm and Friday 1pm-7pm for food donations.
Image taken in 2019.