May 2020 Newsletter

Wow, we hadn’t realised it had been so long since we last updated the newsletter on our website – sorry! Our regular supporters should have received a few via email, but your best bet for finding out all the latest news is on our Facebook page. The amount of donations coming in and thank yous going out is very hard to keep up with at the moment – you’re all amazing! We’ve somewhat condensed this newsletter (believe it or not!) as there are simply too many of you to thank in one go. We always aim to grab a photo of anyone donating though, which can usually be found on our Facebook page. As you can imagine, the foodbank is busier than ever at the moment. Just to give you some kind of idea here are some of our recent figures…

  • 13,500 meals distributed in March across over 1000 food parcels (double what we distributed in February!)
  • Sadly, we reached the grim milestone of 30,000 food parcels delivered in total on 20th April 2020.
  • We had 247 NEW service users added to our ever growing database in March and April, and will be expecting many more once the furlough scheme ends later this year.

 

Coronavirus Update
The way we work has had to change massively due to the pandemic. Our volunteers are spending less time in the warehouse, and we have been blessed with a room at the nearby Meadowell Connect centre to sort through and “date” our donations. Next week, our Trustees will meet to discuss what the next stage is for the foodbank in terms of getting the volunteers back in safely. We have placed an order for masks and hand gel which when combined with social distancing measures should help us keep the service running! We’re currently running a delivery only service (no pick ups unless no other option) as North Tyneside Council are handling the van-based distribution – big shout out to Gary, Sean and the team for all their hard work! They’re also helping to process and sort the daily donations for us after being redeployed from other sectors. Thank you to our wonderful volunteers who have stuck with us during this time, including Gordon and Alan for their time spent delivering and picking up supermarket donations – you’re all frontline heroes!

Donations & Thank You’s
So, let’s give a round of applause to all those who’ve donated and supported us over the past few months, in no particular order:

  • A really huge thank you to the ‘Community Foundation’ who gave us an amazing donation of £5,000 from their National Emergencies Trust, to help us through this crisis!! Thank you to all the local donors who have contributed to the fund. We couldn’t manage without your help.
  • Dan Prince & Tim Lozinski (www.tlmultimedia.co.uk) put together a fantastic short video which details the work we do at the foodbank, featuring our Chairman Rev. Alan Dickinson. You can find it HERE or on our homepage.
  • A heartfelt thank you to North Tyneside Council for their ongoing support and funding to enable us to serve the vulnerable in our local area. Most recently they have supplied extra man power as a result of their leisure centres being closed. Employees like Gary and his colleagues were redeployed to help us out at the Barn. We’d like to say a huge thank you to the North Tyneside Council Labour Group who voted unanimously to donate £2000 to the work we do, which would have been spent on this years now cancelled local elections. You can read more about their help HERE.
  • We’d like to give a HUGE thank you to Margaret Thompson! On 26th April sprightly 87 year-old Mrs Thompson walked up and down the 80m car park near her home 26 times in honour of the postponed London Marathon, accompanied by her daughters Susan, Jill and Hazel. The initial plan was that Margaret would raise £130 for the foodbank, however – as these things do – word got out and when the film of the event was put onto the Earsdon Residents Hub the amount increased to around £300!! Well done Margaret, and a huge thanks to everyone who was involved and donated.
  • A huge thank you to The Banks Group and Chris Kelsey for their amazing donation of £1,000. Just imagine how much food we can buy with that!
  • Another huge thank you to The Roxburgh Restaurant in Whitley Bay! They held a ‘Roxburger‘ night last Friday and raised £1812.30 for us, so did a £1,000 shop at the cash & carry, leaving the remainder at Tom Owens Greengrocers for us to buy fresh fruit & veg! Thanks to the stars at The Roxburgh and everyone who supported them. (PHOTO)
  • Thank you to the staff and customers at Moorpark & Phoenix Premier Convenience Store for their bumper donation of butter, cheese, bacon, bread, fruit & veg, eggs, bread, yogurts and plenty of other lovely things!
  • Stuart Fern and his family had a very creative idea of “Making Social Distancing Memories” for 10 lovels families in his local community. In exchange for a small food donation or financial donation, he snapped a few photos of their time in isolation (from outside!) to create a unique moment to remember!
  • Thank you to Zoe Campbell (of Zoe Campbell Photography) and her friends and neighbours who all contributed to us with generous donations. Zoe took plenty of lockdown snaps as she went and it was great to see everyone’s smiling faces even though they couldn’t be there in person!
  • A massive thank you to Bernicia for their incredibly generous donation of £1,250! It will help support the charity in so many areas!
  • A big shout to John Devitt along with many others for the donated hand sanitizers and soap!
  • Thank you to the fabulous ‘Beach Avenue neighbours’ who completed a 2.6 challenge by doing 13 laps of their street. They safely tried to run, jog, walk, cycle, scoot, skate, hop, skip, jump or anything else to cover 2.6 miles. What a brilliant fundraiser!
  • Community Spirit is higher than ever at the moment with street collections happening all over the area! Lots of thank yous for the residents of Bideford Gardens, Hartley Avenue and Pat at Briardene. Jacob and Toby dropped off 2 trollies of tinned food and toiletries. Collected by Cliftonville Gardens residents as part of the 2.6 Challenge!
  • Further thank yous to Morrisons (Hillheads) for their continued support over the years, including more recently fruit, veg and plenty of bread!
  • Proctor & Gamble have been one of our biggest commercial supporters over the years, and have recently delivered lots of soap and washing up liquid for us to distribute. Thank you!
  • Thank you to Elaine and Jamie who run The Bush Pub in Battle Hill. They organised a food collection in their car park where locals from the estate donated to the foodbank on site. Thank you to Mr.Khan who runs the local Mini Mart; he donated food and masks for the volunteers to keep them safe!
  • We’ve also been able to distribute excess donations to other local charities and schools who were also in need. We were given easter eggs galore and managed to spread the joy around with the help of volunteers!
  • We were also able to give away industrial sized baked beans tins, bakery items, soups, bread rolls, salad, fruit, falafel and donuts to Family Gateway. This was possible as a result of YOUR generosity!
  • There are so many more thank yous to say, but simply not the room to say them!

The impact that the Coronavirus is having on us as a nation is unprecedented. Countless people are out of work, struggling financially, and in dire need of food aid. As supporters, it is your genero that keeps us running, and helps us to deliver the vital support to North Tyneside that is needed so much right now.

Thank you from every one of us at The BAY Foodbank.