Medical Solicitors to support Barnsley Foodbank this Christmas
This festive season, Medical Solicitors has chosen to support Barnsley Foodbank in a bid to help tackle the growing crisis of food poverty in South Yorkshire.
The 2020 Christmas campaign is the idea of solicitor, Louise Haslam, who has decided that, instead of buying her two young sons advent calendars this year, the family will collect food items and essentials during their weekly shopping trips to donate to others in their local community.
“We wanted to teach our children, aged four and almost one, that Christmas is a time for giving and helping those less fortunate. Given that food poverty is on the rise, we wanted to show our children that whilst you are able to help, you should show that kindness,” Louise says.
About Barnsley Foodbank
Supported by the Trussell Trust, Barnsley Foodbank is one of over 1,200 sites in their UK network which provides nutritionally balanced emergency food parcels to people in crisis. Over the last five years, use of foodbanks across the UK has risen by 74 percent; last year, the trust provided over 1.9 million food parcels, including over 720,000 which went to children under 16. In Barnsley, the figure was over 5,000.
But their service has been more vital and in-demand than ever throughout the coronavirus pandemic. While the government has provided additional financial support to enable people to stay afloat through these unprecedented times, more and more people have turned to foodbanks for help. Since the start of the pandemic in March, Barnsley Foodbank has distributed over 3,000 emergency food parcels to local residents. Nationwide, the Trussell Trust has given out a record 1.2 million parcels between March and September. This is only set to rise over the winter months.
The trust has seen a change to the demographic of its service users this year, with many people relying on the use of foodbanks for the first time due to the financial pressures brought on by Covid-19. Employees have lost jobs or had their income reduced, self-employed or business owners have been forced to temporarily close, and gaps within the welfare system has meant many people have been ineligible for financial support – once bills are paid, there simply isn’t enough left in the pot for food essentials.
Low income accounts for over a third (39 percent) of all referrals by health visitors, schools, GPs and social workers. Along with three-day emergency food parcels, the Trussell Trust also works with their service users to resolve the crisis and reduce the likelihood of food hunger by providing debt advice, benefits guidance and mental health support.
The season of kindness at Medical Solicitors
Irrespective of the pressing health crisis which continues to unfold around us, it is a pure injustice that people in 2020 are having to seek help from foodbanks to avoid going hungry. Campaigns like that of footballer Marcus Rashford have highlighted the crisis, but more needs to be done to create a lasting change. The Trussell Trust’s core values of compassion, justice, community and dignity truly resonate with the Medical Solicitors’ ethos; that a little care and kindness in times of need goes a long way.
The Sheffield-based Medical Solicitors team is backing Louise’s pledge and will be collecting non-perishable items and toiletries, as well as seasonal treats, to donate to the Wombwell-based foodbank on Saturday 12 December.
“Over 90 percent of food distributed by the Trussell Trust network is donated by the public, so every donation, no matter how big or small, really does make a difference,” Louise says.
In South Yorkshire, there are many foodbank sites where people can donate items over the coming winter months. As well as Barnsley, there are distribution centres at Rotherham, Doncaster, Handsworth, Burngreave, Hillsborough and Gleadless Valley. Many of the bigger supermarkets also have drop-off points and some also offer pre-packed food bags of items most needed to add to your weekly shop.
For more information about the Trussell Trust and the work they do, ways to give, or to find your nearest foodbank, see their website www.trusselltrust.org
Why not join in with Louise’s pledge and create your own food bank advent calendar as suggested by Barnsley Foodbank. Instead of opening the door to your chocolate (or gin) calendar, add one new item to your foodbank donation for 24 days.