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Community Larder extends reach in Northants

Author: Miranda Wixon Published: 15th May 2020 08:53

A Community Larder food box is delivered onto the Grand Union CanalA Community Larder food box is delivered onto the Grand Union Canal

Community Larder working together with New Local Foodbanks extend their reach to over 5,000 people a week in Northamptonshire

Since lock down over 5000 food boxes have left the SOFEA/FareShare warehouse being driven by volunteers to be delivered to people living in Northamptonshire.  Volunteers in every village and town within South Northants are now supporting each other.

Since the lockdown started at the end of March many people have been struggling to get food with more people isolating and afraid to go out and supermarket slots unavailable options have become increasingly limited.  As a result of the foodbank being closed for the first few weeks of isolation due to all of the volunteers isolating local people have started up their own mini foodbanks to help their neighbours at their time of need, often volunteers paying for food themselves in order to ensure that they deliver food to their neighbours where pockets of need are identified. 

At a recent count it is estimated that over 200 mini foodbanks have come into fruition in Northamptonshire since the beginning of April all offering urgent supplies at an estimate of over 20 bags of food each week reaching approximately an additional 4,000 families a week.  Many of these mini foodbanks are supported by the Community Larder and when people are found to be struggling due to living in isolation they complete membership for the larder and they can then receive a regular weekly box of store cupboard items all redistributed free of charge via the charity SOFEA.

Mrs B of Towcester recounts her own story. “I am on the NHS shielding list after receiving a letter I was told to expect to receive a food parcel, a person phoned me to say that they were going to come the next week, but nothing came.  I am blind, a wheelchair user and have recently undergone an organ transplant.  My partner has agoraphobia and cannot go out to the shops, my elderly Mum normally does my shopping but now she cannot go out either.  As the supplies dwindled in my kitchen, we became desperate. 

"I tried the Towcester foodbank, but it was closed.  SNVB kindly recommended that I phoned the Community Larder who are available to contact seven days a week and they arranged for a regular weekly box to come the following Wednesday, they also contacted Carl at ‘Corona Action for those in Need’ and he came round the following morning (a Saturday) with a big bag of food and other items. 

"I now look forward to my weekly food box of interesting items from the Community Larder and I know that if I run short, I can always rely on Carl for his kindness and promptness of response. 

"We as a family have always contributed to local charities and we shall continue to support the work of these volunteers as they were there for us in our hour of need”.

Carl McGregor founded “Corona Action for Those in Need” in Towcester using the motto “In the face of adversity we shall demonstrate our ability to become a true community”.  Together with his partner, Jules Murray, they personally collect donations from the community (including toiletries, cleaning products, non-perishable foodstuff, pet food and sweet treats) build them into “Covid Care Packs” and redistribute them to the doorsteps of those in need.

Much like the Community Larder project no food is garaged, hoarded, or stored for any longer than a few days; usually donations are collected and redistributed within 48 hours which has created a true emergency supply service during this unprecedented time.

Contact details on facebook :-
Corona Action for Those in Need @covidcarepack
SOFEA Community larder @sofea.northants.

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