Last week we celebrated harvest time with Maple class leading our worship. They introduced each section of the service, wrote and read prayers and made us think about celebrating the harvest and thanking God. We also found out about Didcot food bank from Kallum and Caitlin who shared a powerpoint they had created with us. We collected food from Didcot foodbank. They were very grateful for all that was donated, this is the letter we have received in thanks from them.
Dear Mrs Leach,
St Blaise CE Primary School Harvest Festival – Didcot Emergency Foodbank
Yesterday we received a magnificent collection of food items from the school Harvest Festival for which we thank you on behalf of the clients of the Foodbank. It arrived during a particularly busy Foodbank session in which food for 31 adults and children was issued, so please be assured that all the donations are, and will be, of great value. To give you an idea of the needs that are met, in September we issued food for 159 people, 167 in August, 156 in July, and 1873 for the whole of 2018.
The Foodbank was set up 10 years ago by the then Didcot Baptist Church minister, Rev Keith Nicholls and his wife Anna, plus a church Elder and a lady from the now-closed Families Centre in Newlands Avenue who were beginning to encountering family situations where the authorities were unable to help during short term crises, pending a longer term solution. They set up a referral network which now includes just over 50 agencies in this area, including the health centre and nurses; primary schools; clergy; various social services and families units; housing agencies; debt, mental health and addiction charities, and the biggest single referrer, Citizens Advice. The SODC assist by providing premises situated at 116 Lower Broadway, next to “TRAIN”.
Four years ago the need increased quite rapidly with benefit issues being cited by many, peaking at food issued for 2003 adults and children in 2017 (however, that does include repeat visits). In the early years most of the food items were donated by church, scout, guide, and WI groups in Didcot and the villages, but now includes the general public via collecting boxes in Sainsburys, primary school collections at harvest time, local business employee groups, and significant amounts from South Oxfordshire Food and Eductation Alliance (SOFEA) and Tescos.
Please do pass on our thanks to the children and parents.