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Annual Report for PACT Food Bank

This has been the third year of the Food Bank being operated by a group of volunteers totalling 40+ and a small steering group of eight. During the year we consolidated on the experiences gained during the previous two years and made changes where we considered they were needed.

Our storage base remains within the Methodist Church where on a Monday and Wednesday morning the volunteers sort new donations as well as making up the packs ready for distribution.   During particularly busy periods of larger donations than usual, such as the Harvest Festival and Christmas periods, this can mean an overflow of food from the store for a short while until it is processed and sorted, and we are very grateful for the Methodists patience and understanding when this occurs.

Distribution takes place on a Tuesday and Friday morning at the Salvation Army Hall and our continuing thanks go to Captain Linda Read and her team for accommodating both us and our food packs, and for providing refreshments to those attending the foodbank.   They also act as an emergency point of issue when the need arises.

The figures below illustrate the ongoing need in Petersfield for the Food Bank:

  2015* 2016 2017 2018
Number of food issues   131* 189 206 210
Number of people helped  331*  502 448 450**
         
*These figures cover a nine-month period only. **(319 adults and 131 children)

October, November and December proved to be three of our busiest months and with the introduction of Universal Credit in the area, it is anticipated that our referral figures will rise during 2019.

Over 40 agencies now possess our referral forms with five new agencies being added in 2018.   We also continue to work with Radian on a regular basis, and liaise with other local food banks and voluntary organisations working together to meet specific one-off or ongoing needs.

The fresh food vouchers introduced in 2016 and issued with each referral request continues, and it was for this reason that our annual street collection was started in 2017.   This year we raised £386.72, and once again spoke to many people who were unaware of our existence.  In order to raise awareness generally we have placed our information cards in all venues where those who might need our services are likely to see them, and we are now included on the information screen which runs at the Swan Surgery.  

A total of 420 fresh food vouchers were issued during the year, plus additional gift vouchers at our Christmas special event, amounting to the value of £2,400.00.  The money raised from the street collection and subsequent donations will go towards the supply of vouchers for 2019 as well as purchasing any items required for the packs when the stock runs low.    Our bank balance as at the 31st December 2018 stood at £6410.70. 

This sum has been arrived at by some unexpected and generous one-off donations totalling £3656.78 which we are very grateful for, and which may allow us to consider possible expansions in our service in 2019.  However 2018 has been a unique year for donations.  Our current monthly regular donations of £77 would amount to an annual income of circa £924 which would have to be taken into account for future expenditure.

Donation points are well supported throughout the town, and the two main supermarkets remain on board.   We remain overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of Petersfield, those who donate the items or the volunteers who donate their time and effort, as we could not provide this service without them. 

Marion Voller

Chair of the Steering Group
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