February 2016 Newsletter

There is always so much going on here at the foodbank towards the end of the year and 2015 was no different. The amount of referrals for emergency food parcels always increases, but so does the amount of generous food donations we receive over the Christmas period from our fantastic supporters. We’ve also taken part in a number of organised, three day collections at Sainsbury’s (Whitley Bay/Monkseaton) as part of our ‘Local Charity of the Year’ award which proved to be a big success and a great help to us. These are just two examples of ways in which people from the local area support us and the service we provide.

In 2015, we delivered 3182 emergency food parcels to the most vulnerable in North Tyneside – this meant that over 4800 men, women and children didn’t go hungry during tough financial times. Our busiest month, as expected, was December, in which we provided help to 564 people who were struggling to afford everything that comes with the Christmas season, as well as food to eat.

This means that since we opened in February 2012, we have now provided assistance to nearly 17,000 people in North Tyneside, across 9210 emergency food parcels. These figures are shocking to say the least, and show no signs of decreasing. We therefore ask that you’ll stick with us as we move into 2016 and that you continue to support us in whatever way you can.

The BAY Foodbank has moved premises!
The BAY Foodbank has officially moved it’s base of operations from the Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate, where we had been for nearly 3 years, to a new site nearby in the Meadow Well. Although the new premises is smaller than our previous warehouse it has opened up a number of exciting opportunities for us. It has also given us a more secure lease and will allow us to plan for any future projects we wish to run in conjunction with the foodbank service that we offer, including potential community allotments. Our new address is The Barn, Meadow Well Way, Waterville Road, Meadow Well, North Shields, NE29 6BA – feel free to drop by and say hello!

Weekend food drives at Sainsbury’s for their ‘Local Charity of the Year’
Last year, we were voted as Sainsbury’s (Whitley Bay) ‘Local Charity of the Year’. One of the benefits of this is being invited into their store to hold food collection drives over different weekends. This really helps maximise the donations we receive from supporters, and also allows people to meet and chat to others who are involved in the charity.Two separate food drives were held over the past few months during which over 13,000 items of food were donated and £600 in cash! How amazing is that?! We’d like to offer a HUGE thank you to everyone who donated and to Sainsbury’s for allowing us to collect in their store.

Harvest donations filled the warehouse!
We were overwhelmed by the generosity displayed by local schools and churches who collected food for us as part of their Harvest festival celebrations! At times it seemed like we’d never be able to find a place for it all, but we slowly worked out way through the piles of donated food. Many schools donated close to 1000 items each which is a true demonstration of our supporters generosity!

The Harvest celebration period is a great way for us to do some outreach in the surrounding community and talk with people about the work we do and why we do it. We hope that all of those who donated to us have stuck with us and will continue to do so until Harvest rolls around again. Thank you!

“Please accept these donations from me. Two years ago you helped me out with a food parcel when I was in a bad place and I’d just like to give something back to help.”

Donations sky rocket over the Christmas period!
Every Christmas, the amount of donations we receive goes through the roof! We love to see people coming by to drop food off, having a look around, asking questions and just generally getting involved. It’s a great time of year for community outreach and for educating people – especially for families who like to bring their young children along so that they too can understand the needs of people in the surrounding area. Toy donations were also a great benefit to us this year as it mean that local vulnerable children were able to get at least one or two presents on Christmas morning. Unfortunately we don’t have the time (or email space!) to thank everyone who donated to us over the Christmas period, but we would like everyone to know just how thankful we are – as I’m sure our service users are also. Thank you!

Christmas Fundraising Gig!
Towards the end of 2015, a local supporter by the name of Mollie Brown and her friend Wendy Young organised a charity gig for the benefit of the foodbank at the Magnesia Bank in Whitley Bay. We’d like to thank everyone who was involved in making it such a success – especially Wagjammer, Kenny Craig (of Soul Central), Aaron Potter, Jan Buglass and Marty Cragg (from Happy Cuts, and Lindesfarne) for their music support! The night was a big success and a great night was had by all!

St. Peters Panto Society Donation!
We’d like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone from St. Peters Panto Society! Last year they adopted us as their chosen charity, put on a show in January and invited some of our service users – with the proceeds going to us here at the foodbank. At the start of 2016, they dropped by to deliver a cheque for £1000 to us! Thank you to everyone who donated, went to the show, and helped organise it – you’re all fantastic! This will really help us out.

If you’d like to sponsor The BAY Foodbank with an event you can do so via our new BT MyDonate page which can be found by clicking here.

Personal donations from a young supporter!
Young Seb delivered all of the food he’d been collecting throughout December to us at the foodbank last year. He completely understood the importance of what he did and was thrilled to see where his food would go! Thank you, Seb!

“Never underestimate the value of teaching our children about compassion for those with less than ourselves.” – Seb’s parents

We love Christmas jumper days!
Not only did we receive donations in the form of food, but we were very lucky to be given financial donations towards the end of the year that were raised with special Christmas jumper days at various schools and companies in North Tyneside! This will go towards the overall running costs of the charity, especially to keep the delivery van on the road! Some of the pupils from Whitley Bay High School came by to drop off their donation of over £300 for us! Thank you!

Special Thanks
We’d like to thank a number of different charities, organisations and individuals, including; Angels of the North for their continued support and for allowing us to use their warehouse on the Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate over the past 3 years, North Tyneside Council for their good working relationship with us, and of course all of our vital supporters and volunteers who help keep The BAY Foodbank running!