WHAT IS MK FOODBANK AND WHAT DOES IT DO?
MK Food Bank helps to feed local families and individuals who have been referred by agencies as needing
support. Pre pandemic, MK Food Bank relied mostly on donations - of both food and money - from local
schools, churches, businesses, organisations and individuals, with their warehouse and serving centres
being manned by volunteers from the local area.
Food parcels could be collected from one of the serving sessions located around the city and clients could
receive their donation 6 times within a rolling 12 month period, and on occasion more frequently.
Through the information that MK Food Bank receives, it is able to monitor whether services are meeting
needs, to be aware of the underlying reasons for which beneficiaries are requesting food and also signpost
to the appropriate agency those individuals requiring a more sustainable solution to their difficulties.
WHAT WAS THE PROBLEM?
Pre pandemic, the charity had already witnessed a rapid increase in demand for its service by those
suffering from financial crisis, hardship and unemployment.
Now the effects of Covid-19 were increasing that need, as reasons such as self-isolation, illness,
bereavement and other vulnerabilities meant a severe shortage of food for many. Individuals were finding
themselves without work or money, were waiting for benefit claims, were ill or having to stay in their homes,
all of which was making it harder to access those services normally be available to them.
The lockdown resulted in a massive increase in the demand for MK Food Bank’s services, whilst
simultaneously meaning a serious decline in food donations.
WHAT DIFFERENCE DID THE APPEAL AWARD MAKE?
With the award funding, and in partnership with Milton Keynes Council, the charity launched Food Bank
XTRA, an enlarged food bank operation, far more able to effectively and efficiently support its community.
Since its launch on 26 March 2020, what was a 'normal', pre pandemic food parcel delivery figure of over
1,000 per month, has risen to 1,000 per week. Funding received has been able to meet the most critical
need - food - a month's supply of which costs as much as £50,000. (Also to be taken into account were
certain ancillary activities, such as logistics and other organisational running costs)
The partnership with MK Council also means that, with more people benefitting from the food bank, it’s also
easier for them to gain access to other services that they need, and of which Joanne is a good example.