The Nomad Food Bank is based at the d:two Centre in Henley, and is run with the help of volunteers from the local community. This term, a new set of volunteers from Years 5 & 6 at Badgemore School have also been giving up their time to help.
The Henley Herald went to join them on Thursday afternoon. After a short team-building exercise with youth and family support worker, Joe Millar, the Badgemore School volunteers helped him sort the contents of the latest Tesco’s food delivery into their respective storage containers. The children checked the best before dates for each item. They then “filed” them in the relevant storage crates before working with Joe to put together food parcels ready for delivery.
The children were totally involved and enthusiastic about the project. They very quickly understood that some donations received were not suitable for the food parcels. Homemade foods, foods past their “best before” dates and items containing alcohol were discarded, as the food bank cannot process them to the food parcels stage. They also learned that the most useful items are dried or tinned foods inside their best-before dates. A typical list for a food bank might be:
- Milk (UHT or powdered)
- Pasta sauces
- Sponge pudding (tinned)
- Tomatoes (tinned)
- Rice pudding (tinned)
- Tea Bags/instant coffee
- Instant mash potato
- Biscuits or snack bars
- Tinned meat/fish
- Tinned fruit
Tim Hoskins, Assistant Headteacher at Badgemore School, has been spearheading this volunteering project. He said “The children are volunteering their time and muscle to support this process. This is real work sorting out food donated by shoppers at Tesco. I’m hoping it will widen the children’s life experience. We intend to attend every week this term. It is important for the children to know there are people in our community who struggle with hunger, and who are reliant on the food bank to help feed their families.”
There are at least 2,000 food banks operating in the UK, giving out emergency food parcels on a weekly basis to people in hardship. Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. A food parcel from the food bank makes a big difference. Clients of the Nomad Food Bank are referred through recognised agencies. Additional support can also be offered to clients as and when appropriate. This includes money management and budgeting programmes.
Food collection is part of Tesco’s ongoing effort to encourage customers to donate long-life food to charity. Non-perishable food items can be dropped off at Tesco in Reading Road, local churches or at the d:two centre.