A Year Supporting the West Cheshire Foodbank
Posted on March 4th 2020
Oliver & Co’s chosen charity of the year for 2019/2020 has been the West Cheshire Foodbank – a charity founded in 2012 with the aim of combating poverty and hunger in our local area.
To kick off our association, West Cheshire Foodbank kindly invited some of the Oliver & Co staff to their premises near Ellesmere Port to learn about the essential work they do. We were shocked to learn how many people in our local area have had to turn to the foodbank for help in times of crisis. We came away from the meeting feeling galvanised to help support West Cheshire Foodbank in the good work they do.
We soon set up a food donation station at our office in the city centre and encouraged our staff to donate food items from their long list of wanted items. So far, throughout the year, we have managed to donate 320.18 kg of food to the foodbank, with more donations to come. These items have gone towards creating nutritionally balanced food parcels which provide three days of emergency food to local people in need.
In June and November of 2019 some of our staff members volunteered in their own time at ‘Supermarket collections’ in our local Tesco store. They approached shoppers to tell them about the work of the foodbank locally, gave them a shopping list of items that are desperately needed and asked them to pick up an extra item (or two!) on their shopping trip to donate to the foodbank.
During our food deliveries to the foodbank we learnt that summer is a particularly difficult time for some families, especially for those who rely on free school dinners in term time. We decided then to make a super effort to collect food items and raise money to purchase other food items for the tricky summer months. Thanks to our generous staff we raised £155, which meant we could buy 206 cartons of UHT juice for the foodbank, which is what they desperately needed at the time!
Raising funds for a defibrillator
During the year we also learnt of the foodbank’s desperate need for a defibrillator for their warehouse premises. We set about raising enough money for this through office dress down days, staff raffles and donations. We were delighted to exceed our fundraising target of £500. We raised enough money to buy a defibrillator as well as a protective box for it, so it could be positioned in a location where all businesses in their local area could make use of it should they need to.
Children in Need week
In November, during Children in Need week, we encouraged our staff members to donate food items that children would enjoy over the Christmas period, including advent calendars, jelly, custard and chocolate. We really wanted to make sure that those children effected by poverty had something to enjoy over the Christmas period.
Well into the New Year we are still collecting for the food bank. We intend to remain as a food donation station for the foreseeable future. In the last year, we have been hugely inspired by the work of West Cheshire Foodbank and we have been delighted to be able to support this charity in providing such an essential lifeline to people in times of hardship.
A message from Ian Oulton, Trustee, West Cheshire Foodbank:
“We were delighted when Oliver and Co chose us as their Charity of the year in 2019. Hunger from poverty is not just something that happens at Christmas and whilst we are always grateful for one off seasonal donations, the
wonderful staff of Oliver and Co have not only raised funds to support purchase of a defibrillator at our warehouse but also have been collecting food at their offices throughout the year and volunteering at our food drives at Supermarkets.
A number of the staff took the time and trouble to visit our warehouse to see our work first-hand and to get a better understanding of what we do which we think is vital in a partnership such as this.
Without help and support such as this we simply could not continue our work and we are extremely grateful. We hope that our relationship can flourish in the future. Thank you again on behalf of the volunteers and of course the recipients of our food distribution.”
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