By Chloe Sutton, Beyond Food Project Leader
Durham Foodbank, seeded by The Trussell Trust, has released new figures showing that across April there was an 89% increase in demand for foodbanks as a direct consequence of the effects of the pandemic. If we take a look closer at the particular groups in need, foodbanks saw a 107% increase in the number of children requiring support. With the Commons voting against Labour’s motion of extending free school meals over the holidays in these difficult and uncertain times, it is expected that the North East will be one of the regions hit hardest by this decision.
Although long-term, preventative solutions are required, it would be negligent to ignore the need for short-term fixes – such as foodbanks. Increases in universal credit obviously fail to compensate for the loss of family income which produces child hunger. Bringing people out of poverty isn’t done overnight, and the sad fact of the matter is that children will go hungry during their half-term break.
The Trussell Trust have pledged that until they are certain that the government can provide adequate protection against poverty in the charity’s place – the foodbanks will continue their commendable work. Foodbanks provide an essential community service to people unable to afford food. But how can Durham students get involved when they have busy lives or can’t volunteer due to Covid-19 restrictions?
Introducing: Beyond Food – the university’s connection with Durham Foodbank.
Beyond Food is a student-led project, associated with DUSVO, working with Durham Foodbank to raise awareness of the importance of foodbanks, collect food donations, monetary donations, and other essential items for those most in need in our local community. The food donation boxes you’ve probably seen around your college JCRs and receptions are collected by Beyond Food throughout each term. But with the increase in demand for food donations, they are now more important than ever – and we need your help.
Project leader, Chloe Sutton, views this project as a necessity rather than a charitable thing to be doing. In times like these, it is more important than ever to break out of the Durham bubble and become a part of the community, with foodbanks on our very doorsteps. The project thus far has had tremendous success in recruiting hardworking, creative College Representatives and volunteers to spread the word and encourage donations. But what is most important is meeting the demand for food donations.
What to Donate
This list compiled by The Trussell Trust is intended to provide a minimum of three days’ “nutritionally balanced, non-perishable tinned and dried foods,” containing sufficient nutrition for all ages.
A typical food parcel includes the featured items in the illustration: cereal, soup, pasta, rice, tinned goods, biscuits, long-life milk… and more.
Alongside those, the non-food items that are often forgotten, but of course essential include:
- Baby supplies – nappies, baby wipes and baby food
- Feminine products – sanitary towels and tampons
- Household items – laundry liquid detergent, laundry powder, washing up liquid
- Toiletries – deodorant, toilet paper, shower gel, shampoo, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, hand wipes
Where to Donate
Below are the locations of food donation boxes regularly collected by Beyond Food and taken to the Durham Foodbank warehouse in Chester-le-Street.
- Durham University colleges – every college will have their own donation box, usually found in JCRs, receptions and entrances.
- Palatine Centre
- Calman Learning Centre
- Durham Student’s Union
- Maiden Castle
Please donate whatever you can afford to help alleviate the difficult circumstances currently faced by our local community.
If you want to keep up to date with Beyond Food, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook @beyondfood.dusvo.
Illustration by Alexandra-McLaren