Rotarians in Warwick recently heard about the work of the team behind the Warwick District Foodbank and the pressures that they face.
The Rotarians returned after their Christmas break to hear about those for whom the festive season had been a struggle.
Andy Bower, operations manager at Warwick District Foodbank, told them how the charity had seen an increase in demand of 23 per cent in 2019 and brought the club up to date with the needs they are encountering.
Also present were volunteers from “Make Lunch” who provide free lunches for children during the school holidays and see first-hand the difficulties mothers have in providing a hot meal for their children.
During 2019 more than 53,500 kilograms of food was distributed to more than 5,000 people by the Warwick District Foodbank.
Issues causing people to be so short of money they cannot afford food are: sudden crisis such as redundancy; low income – zero hours contracts can result in being unable to plan expenditure; benefit delays; benefit changes; debt and homelessness.
Contributing factors are the impact of housing benefit restrictions, universal credit, tax credit changes, and withdrawal of disability benefits.
The children of these families often receive free school meals, but during the school holidays go hungry. The churches of St Paul's in Friars Street, All Saints in Emscote, and St Michaels at Chase Meadow have joined a national charity “Make Lunch” and provide between them three lunches a week during the holidays.
The Rotary Club stepped into fund provision of a small Christmas present for the 40 children on their lists. The club is keen to ensure that mothers and children know about these “drop in” lunches, and to see that the churches are adequately funded.
Warwick Rotary Club President David Brain handed Andy a cheque to help their work and others also gave goods and donations to take away.