Last night a very good turnout at the inaugural meeting voted unanimously to set up a Launceston Foodbank. Foodbanks are projects run by local volunteers, often churches, to provide emergency food supplies to people in particular hardship.
The meeting was organised at Central Methodist by Keith Roberts and heard from Jeremy Ravn of the Trussell Trust which co-ordinates more than 90 foodbanks across the UK. There were 58 people at the meeting - which I thought was incredibly good for a sunny Monday in August.
The idea behind a foodbank is that donations of tinned and dry foods are collected and parceled up into enough to feed either a single person, a couple or a family for three days. People in need are then referred by agencies like social services, doctors or churches and they are given the food.
The need for foodbank parcels can be one of a wide range of causes. It might be that your car has broken down, a paycheck hasn't arrived or you have not yet received a benefit payment. Whatever the cause, either you have no money for food or something else has swallowed up the money you would otherwise spend on food. The saying used last night was that you are only a bill away from needing a foodbank.
With the current economic situation the need is all the greater. Whilst the foodbanks operating in Bodmin, Wadebridge, Liskeard, Bude and Holsworthy have helped people in Launceston, our area is out of their 'patch' and so there is a need for a new organisation here.
I'm delighted that the meeting was so positive about setting up a group here and that there are so many people willing to help set it up. Congratulations to Keith and everyone who get the meeting together and best wishes to everyone as the organisation moves forward. I'll be looking to help by giving a donation from my councillors' community chest fund - as well as donating food from my weekly shop.