01:00PM, Wednesday 22 April 2020
An £800 donation from The Louis Baylis Trust will help Slough Foodbank to support its customers through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money has come from a £10,000 fund set aside by trustees to help good causes tackle the impact of the virus.
Slough Foodbank, whose office is based in in Montrose Avenue, provides food parcels made up of enough cupboard staples to make three meals a day for three days.
Packages also include extras like tea, coffee, biscuits, goodies, toiletries and basic household items.
If the recipient needs another parcel at the end of that period, they can request a referral to the foodbank from their designated agency, for example the job centre, GP surgery or probation service.
Sue Sibany-King, manager of Slough Foodbank, said she approached the Louis Baylis Trust because ‘they’ve helped us before’.
She said: “We could see that we were going to be needing more money with having to do more shopping as well as what we would normally use for the overheads.”
Sue said the week before lockdown was announced the foodbank delivered 211 parcels compared to between 120 to 150 a week.
She said the spike in demand was the result of ‘complete panic’, and that this pressure has eased since the COVID-19 One Slough Community Response Group got up and running.
Slough Borough Council has teamed up with the Slough Council for Voluntary Service to work alongside community groups in the town and co-ordinate help for vulnerable people.
However, Sue said that even without a pandemic the number of people using the foodbank has been on the rise.
“Numbers have just continually gone up,” she said. “Up until September we would have thought 100 was a busy week but we’re way over 100 now every week and that’s the norm.”
She added: “It’s universal credit and the five-week delay, that just cripples people and puts them on the back foot into debt, and then their struggling for a lot longer than five weeks to get out of that debt.
“And also we’re seeing an awful lot of low income.”
At a time of increased demand for food parcels, there has also been a decrease in food donations from the public, which the charity has topped up by doing shopping of its own.
“For years we hadn’t done, but before the pandemic we had to do three large shops in the year because numbers were going so high.”
Sue said ‘there’s so much generosity’ from people but there is also a lot of economic uncertainty, not just as a result of the pandemic but also austerity and Brexit.
“It’s been years of uncertainty,” she said. “Just people not knowing from one day to the next what they’re going to be able to give, or donate or earn.”
To find out more about Slough Foodbank go to slough.foodbank.org.uk