Today the Rights Respect Officers from each year group spent time visiting Feeding Families HQ in Blaydon.
As part of our Harvest Festival this year, we collected a vast amount of non-perishable food items to donate to Feeding Families. Feeding Families is a charity based in North East England that offers support, hope and security to those experiencing food poverty. They work closely with other organisations, agencies, businesses and schools to ensure that thousands of families, who are in desperate need, have access to emergency food boxes and support packages.
To gain a deeper understanding into where our donations went, we visited Feeding Families HQ. We were greeted by Ian who talked to us about how Feeding Families began, what impact the food donations had and how we could continue to help those in need. We were set the task of trying to empty each of the crates of food by the end of our packing session in order to have as many emergency food boxes, ready to be shipped, as possible! Ian told us that we needed to have 1 of each item in our box before adding a leaflet and prepping the box for shipping. Items included cereal, pasta, rice, sauces, soup, tinned fruit and vegetables, toiletries, crackers, biscuits, tea and coffee, and sweet treats. We all worked fantastic as a team and managed to pack a whopping 59 emergency food boxes in less than an hour with all crates completely empty!
We prepared some questions for Ian to answer for us to find out more information about the vital work Feeding Families does for many families across the North East.
What inspired you to get involved in this job? “I hadn’t heard of Feeding Families until a year ago when I was walking past with my children. I decided to look into it and find out how I could help. I have been here for almost a year now and I love volunteering full time to make a difference. I am most inspired by children like yourselves coming and offering to help others when they are in need. It’s selfless acts of kindness like this which inspire me to carry on”.
How many emergency boxes do you pack a month? “On average we pack around 2000 boxes every month which then get collected by different organisations and distributed amongst the community. In the run up to Christmas, we can pack 7000 boxes in December alone. That would mean around 29,000 food parcels annually”.
How many collections do you have each day? “Some days are quieter than others depending on the demand each day. But if I was guessing then around 70 per day so you have all helped to meet this target extremely quickly just from your help today”.
How many families do you think you help annually? “This can change depending on peoples circumstances and the cost of living crisis is having a huge impact at the minute. We normally help around 10,000 families each year”.
Apart from making emergency food boxes each day, what else does Feeding Families do? “ We take part in fundraising nights and events, work with local businesses and schools like yourselves to expand the support we can offer, we also create different food boxes at Christmas time. We do something called matched hampers where families, who cannot afford to buy a Christmas dinner, can go on our website and request what they need. They are then matched with a volunteering family who will go shopping, buy the requested items and then personally drop off the Christmas hamper to the family in need. I will be doing this with my children this year to give something extra back”.
For more information on Feeding Families, have a look on the website link below to get involved.