Rod Munro, team leader at New Life Community Larder, said he has seen a steady increase in demand of up to 80% since September, driven by households grappling with the rising cost of living.
This is in particular because of the increase in energy bills as people move out of fixed rate deals. “Some people paid double what they paid before,” he said.
This is coupled with the removal of the universal credit increase granted during pandemic lockdowns.
“We see working families coming to us asking for help and support with utilities and food packages in general – it’s really difficult. “
They work with referrals from schools and local boards. Last week ten families were referred to her in one day and said support agencies struggled to support these families as money was running out due to fundraising difficulties, creating more stress for all of them. the people involved.
“It’s hitting more and more people and as Christmas approaches they don’t have that disposable income beyond paying the bills and fuel. Parents pay for the school uniform and then find it difficult to buy food. It is very worrying. “
Right now, the food bank is responding to demand and drawing funds from the rental of the conference center, as well as the Lincolnshire Co-op Advent Calendar campaign and the new NK Lottery.
“We’ve seen Harvest Festival donations go down this year because people can’t afford to give so much,” Rod said.
But they still follow up with a number of seasonal initiatives to boost the spirits of people who may be elderly, isolated, or living alone and in need of support.
On Saturday, December 18, they concocted 283 Christmas meals for older people, isolated or lonely, with 48 volunteer drivers who came to deliver them. Normally, they would be invited for a big meal at the center, but this prevents the spread of the covid. Each person will also receive a gift and a quiz book.
Other volunteers, including Lincolnshire Co-op and Utility Aid staff, were busy making 60 baskets ready to fill them with produce including turkeys and seasonal vegetables this week and then delivered on Christmas Eve to designated households.
Rod said: “It’s a gigantic task and takes up a lot of space, with up to 30 volunteers roaming Sleaford and the surrounding villages.”
In recent months, the food bank has also created a community table, set outside, filled with food items donated by local stores and supermarkets that would otherwise have gone to waste, with help from Fair Share. There will be even more donations on Christmas Eve. Rod said it was handy if someone felt uncomfortable asking for help formally: “You need a food bank referral, but the table is for the whole community to do. help reduce food waste and get healthy food. “
“Now is the time for the community to stand up and serve the rest of the community in need. We’re trying to do our part, but it’s worth it, ”said Rod, who revealed they have more exciting plans for the New Year.
A number of groups and businesses have made donations to help Sleaford New Life Community Larder this Christmas.
Grunwald UK and her staff donated groceries and £ 700 to help the food bank’s work over Christmas.
The local packaging equipment company has been supporting the charity since 2018. Company director Samantha Smith said, “The community pantry does a fantastic job supporting local people when they have it. no more help, and we hope our contribution will help make Christmas better. for the people they work with.
Rod Munro from the Pantry commented: “Grunwald UK has once again stepped forward to help our community work to support the people of Sleaford and the surrounding villages. We would really encourage other businesses to come forward and support the vital work of the local community pantry.
Cath Hamblin, president of the Rotary Club of Sleaford, also presented £ 500 to help fund the Christmas baskets taken out of the pantry for the community and add a bit of zest for life. The club have already donated £ 2,000 to help the pantry during the Covid crisis.
Sleaford Snails running football club, based at Better Gym on East Road, also donated £ 126.95 (pictured left) to the food bank.
If you would like to help by donating money, food or a Christmas item to the pantry, you can drop off items at the New Life Center, Mareham Lane, Sleaford, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
l For more information visit www.nlcm.org.uk/community-larder or call 01529 413063