CHRISTCHURCH Foodbank Plus have appealed for residents to continue donating to the project after revealing a record amount of deliveries during to the coronavirus pandemic.

The foodbank has handed out 900 parcels to adults and children across the area through their East School Holiday and Summer Holiday Hunger schemes, plus another 195 through their ‘Meal In A Bag’ Scheme.

The Easter School Holiday Hunger scheme, which was introduced early as the schools were closing, ran for six weeks instead of the normal two weeks.

This was quickly followed by the start of the Summer Holiday hunger Scheme which began on July 1 and continued to September 3.

Fresh vegetables and fruit were introduced and given out with all parcels, and Christchurch Foodbank Plus made sure that no one who came to or was referred to them left empty handed.

Tracy Blick, projects manager of Christchurch Foodbank+, in partnership with Christchurch Fellowship of Churches and Faithworks, said: “Lockdown due to coronavirus has really changed the way we work and shown us how amazing our community, churches, local organisations and funders are.

"We have all come together to serve those in need in our community, peoples lively hoods and circumstances changed overnight, those who were once regular donors are now coming to us for practical help.

"We are serving and helping those who do not have the money to stockpile or shop online, every week feeding themselves or their families is a challenge.

"I have really seen the saying ‘together we can do this’ in action, its humbling. People are coming to us burdened and desperate yet leaving with hope and practical, financial and material help.”

As figures have doubled and, in some projects, tripled over lockdown, CFB+ has thought outside the box to assist in different ways.

During their Easter Holiday Hunger scheme, the foodbank provided 262 parcels for 433 adults and 659 children, over three times as much as they distributed the previous year.

Over 2,100 people benefited from the 614 parcels handed out as part of Christchurch Foodbank Plus’ Summer Holiday Hunger scheme, compared to just over 1,000 people in 2019.

Introduced as part of an exit plan for the foodbanks Hot Meal deliveries, Christchurch Foodbank Plus introduced their ‘Meal In A Bag’ Scheme to encourage families to eat healthily and cook and eat together.

Almost 200 bags containing weighed ingredients for a healthy hot dinner and dessert, were prepared and delivered to families in the community, all provided, shopped and prepped by the foodbank’s volunteers.

With demanded for their services not letting up as schools have returned and a second lockdown looking likely, the foodbank are pleading for more donations to continue assisting struggling families in the area.

Tracy added: “The schools have reopened but we have not seen a reduction in people coming and needing our service, jobs are still being lost and incomes are reduced.

“Harvest Church and School services have been cancelled which is normally how we restock our shelves after a busy summer and get ready for the Christmas preparations.

“We are also very conscious that there may be a second lockdown or other changes in the future, and we need to prepare for that.”