St John the Baptist Church, Carhampton, Somerset.

© Payn Documentation Services 2015


September 2014

Food parcels since the Food Cupboard started in 2007: 3049
Number of parcels in 2013:     1149
Number of parcels this year:    767

Dear Friends

The demand for parcels eased slightly in July but then the numbers began to rise again and in the second week of August we made up our 3,000th parcel since the project began. This figure equates to approximately £90,000 worth of food all given or purchased with monetary donations from our supporters so thank you all for your continued help, it is much appreciated.

I wrote to Tesco’s head office regarding their “Fare Share” collection in the Minehead store where customers thought that their gifts of food would benefit those in need in the immediate local community, however the food collected went to Food Banks in Taunton, Bridgwater and Highbridge . Tesco’s responded by allowing us to have a permanent collection trolley in their Minehead store and to date we have benefited from 44 storage  trays of food  which has been absolutely wonderful and has filled  many gaps in our  much needed stock. The collection trolley will remain in the Minehead store until such time as Head Office decides otherwise!  The poultry farm at Wellington has continued to supply us with free range eggs at the rate of about 30 dozen per week and this is still on going and such a treat for those receiving our parcels.

We have had to restrict the numbers of fresh fruit and vegetables being donated as we do not know from day to day what demands will be made upon the Food Cupboard and it is essential that perishable goods go out on the same day otherwise they will deteriorate .  Anyone wishing to donate surplus produce is requested to telephone me in the first instance to let me know what  goods they have so that I can make sure that we have an outlet for them and that they are suitable for purpose. The arrangement we now have with Quantock Eco is that their surplus fruit and vegetables are made up into mixed bags which are delivered direct to the Williton Children’s Centre every Monday morning to coincide with our regular food parcel delivery.  That way nothing is wasted, the amount is restricted to the number of families receiving a food parcel on that day. Transition in Minehead continue to deliver their surplus produce to the Food Cupboard every Tuesday, so that we can make arrangements with local agencies to collect and deliver these goods whilst they are fresh.

The Food Cupboard has a mention in the Exmoor magazine this month in relation to our Cookery Workshops which were a joint initiative with the local Village Agent and chef Claire Lynch. The final workshop at The Culbone Cookery School was attended by a group of young people from YMCA at Stonham.  It was wonderful to witness these youngsters really entering into the spirit of the day.  They were so enthusiastic and really enjoyed the session taking home recipes and ideas for making food bought within their restricted budget so much more interesting and nutritious. Magna Housing have expressed an interest in workshops for their clients both young and old but this will be by private arrangement with Claire’s Kitchen as not everyone wishing to attend receives support from the Food Cupboard.

Unfortunately Somerset Care at Home have yet to take advantage of the service we offer for their needy clients so  I have written to Dunster Lodge to see if any of those using their outreach service might benefit from a food parcel.

We are already thinking about Christmas and letters will soon go out to all our agencies asking them to start identifying those for whom a Christmas Food Parcel would be a bonus.  These need not necessarily be those in receipt of a food parcel at the time but could include individuals and families for whom Christmas can be a difficult time, either financially or through loneliness, illness or bereavement or unforeseen circumstances, or for whom the past year has not been easy for whatever reason. I am hoping that more parcels will go to the elderly who live alone and have no immediate family and who are so easily forgotten.  One such recipient last year commented that for years she had only ever received a single Christmas card from her immediate neighbour.  She had no family and our festive basket of Christmas goodies was such a surprise and very special gift. So even though it is only September please start making a list of those whom you might know so that their Christmas can be made extra special this year.

Our Christmas wish list is the same as last year so look out for those early bargains when you are shopping.  Based on the increase in demand for regular parcels I expect we will be making up about 300 Christmas parcels this year.  We have a head start with the Christmas puddings as we kept back all the year 2015 and 2016 from last year’s generous contributions so our Festive collection has already started! We will once again be glad of any oddments of Christmas baubles, tinsel and ribbon and these can be left at the Food Cupboard at any time. What you achieved last Christmas by your unselfish giving was phenomenal and the joy you brought to so many was truly humbling, so thank you all. Let us make Christmas 2014 equally special for all those in need.


Coordinator West Somerset Food Cupboard