The Foodbank is open for clients every Tuesday & Friday from 2pm to 3pm.
Pwllheli Foodbank has been running as an independent Foodbank since 2013. We now distribute around 600 food parcels a year. When we started we believed that this was a short-term project to fill a short-term need, as people experienced problems in the wake of the financial crises that was gripping our country.
Since then the problems that our society faces have not improved, people are still finding their resources stretched and making ends meet is a challenge. Families in this area are particularly affected by the lack of employment opportunities and low wages and may only be able to get seasonal employment which does not allow them to cover their expenses for the whole year.
We are finding ourselves busier with ever more need in our communities and Foodbanks across the country are now a permanent feature of our society.
Every day people are going hungry for various reasons from permanent redundancy to a temporary exceptionally high bill whilst living on a low income. A simple box of food makes a big difference. The packs of food that we give out help to prevent crime, housing loss, family breakdown and mental health problems. Through the gift of food we show that no one is forgotten and give people hope of a better tomorrow.
Before people come to the Foodbank to receive their food parcel they must be issued with a voucher by one of our referral agencies. These are care professionals such as doctors, health visitors, schools and social workers, and front-line charities who work with those in poverty in every demographic of society. They identify people in crisis and issue them with a Foodbank voucher. This entitles them to receive a Foodbank parcel of 3 days nutritionally balanced, non-perishable food. The vouchers can be provided to the client by the agencies, or the agencies can contact the Foodbank by phone, text, messenger or email with the client details.
Whilst some Foodbanks limit customers to 3 vouchers in a year, here in Pwllheli we do not. After 3 visits, we check to see whether people are still in crisis and that the underlying issues of poverty are being addressed. We can advise people to seek the help which is available to tackle the root cause of their poverty. There is information provided in each pack about referral agencies and advice about agencies which may help them with debt or mental health issues. We provide emergency help and do not wish people to become reliant upon emergency food aid, but neither will we leave people to go hungry if we can prevent it. If you think that you may need a voucher for the food bank and are unsure where to get one, contact us and we can guide you to the relevant referral agency.
The food comes from various sources, but in the main it comes from ordinary people. There is a trolley in ASDA and ICELAND in Pwllheli as well as collection boxes in St Peter’s Church Pwllheli, St Pedrog’s Church Llanbedrog, St Hywyn’s Church Aberdaron and in various other churches and chapels in the area. The supermarket trolleys are emptied regularly by Foodbank volunteers and brought to St Peter’s to be dated and stored ready to be given out. As a general rule any non-perishable items are good to donate but there are various items which are always needed:
As well as food we give out basic household items like toilet rolls, washing up liquid and basic hygiene items like soap and shower gel.
At special occasions such as Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ Day we give a little extra so that people can not only survive but enjoy and celebrate these occasions. For the people running the Food bank, it is an immensely humbling experience seeing the joy in parent’s faces who suddenly realise that they can celebrate Christmas with their children with a sense of abundance.
We have always run various fundraising events and coffee mornings to raise money so that we can purchase perishable items (such as bread and butter) and any other supplies we are short of. But these have had to stop since the Covid Pandemic – we hope that we will be able to run these events soon as they are enjoyed by volunteers and visitors alike and we are able to educate more people on the role of the Foodbank at the same time.
At Pwllheli Food Bank we offer more than just emergency food aid. We offer a safe and caring environment in which people, often fragile and vulnerable, can come and feel supported.
We ensure that most sessions have a Priest available for pastoral care, someone to listen without judgement and where appropriate offer advice and offer guidance for further help.
We offer our customers hope and show them that they have not been forgotten, and that everyone, no matter what their circumstance is valued and loved.
You can support our work in various ways:
• Donating food items, either directly to us during food bank opening times or through one of the collection points.
• By volunteering, simply drop in to see us and see how you can help. We are always looking for people to help with running sessions, sorting donations, shopping, collecting donations from drop off points.
• Financially, whether it’s a one-off donation or a monthly standing order we are always grateful for any amount which allows us to continue to support those who are in need. Our Bank details are Sort Code 309043; Account number 47736068 or contact us for a direct debit form.
• You can make a donation through our giving page.
• We are always happy to receive visitors at our Foodbank sessions – the best time to talk to us is between 12-2pm on Tuesday and Friday at St Peter’s Church, North Street, Pwllheli LL53 5DS.
• Through our Facebook page where you can also keep up to date with what is happening at the Food Bank.
• Phone Karen Cooper on 07747 800 320