100 tonnes of food was no mean feat, and while we feel proud of what we have achieved, it brings with it, mixed emotions, demand remains above supply, we cannot simply get enough food out for all the projects in need. While we are working to address this, it is a sobering thought as to just how normal food poverty has begun.
While we are new to distributing food at any real scale, it is only on the last few months that we have been able to put the capacity and supply in place to really start to address need. From a temporary food hub we are now distributing around 15 tonnes of ambient and fresh food each.
The food is shared out each week between roughly 20 community projects who give it to people in need in their communities. While we also deliver food parcels across Bodmin. In the recent both in Bodmin and at the community projects we support we have seen an increase in demand for the services we provide, between us each week we can food more than 1% of the Cornish population. In recent weeks more than 6,000 people are fed between us, while this has remained consistently above 5,500 since before Christmas.
We forecast this to continue increasing, this week alone we have seen a 30% increase in demand for food parcels in Bodmin. Our team at Cultivate Cornwall are working hard to ensure we have enough food to support those families most in need across Cornwall’s communities. This has become even more vital now we have entered the latest lockdown and start to feel the longer term impact of the pandemic.
Since March 2020 we have worked tirelessly to support Bodmin community members facing food poverty and have grown out of our small high street shop in market arcade on fore street, Bodmin. Although we still have the shop which is used to make up food parcels delivered 3 times per week, we also have a larger warehouse which is where our large deliveries are processed. With the larger capacity that we can operate at it brought opportunities to support more food banks and community support groups across Cornwall.
We have since partnered with FareShare South West and support at least 18 other community groups and food banks where we deliver directly to them bulk food from our unit every week, some do collect themselves, but most is delivered. This is a huge challenge each week to process this volume of food within a short turnaround, however we have a fantastic team of staff and volunteers that make it happen week after week, including over the Christmas and New Years holiday. We are grateful for the level of support from FareShare southwest, Penmellyn Vets for the use of one of their units and to all of the other organisations that work with us.
As 2021 begins, the news has been rather bleak, While there is hope, one of the less reported effects of COVID-19 is the additional thousands of families across the UK facing severe food poverty and relying on local food banks. Most of us have heard of Marcus Rashford, and you con not argue with the publicity he has brought to food poverty. While this does highlight the UK has a food poverty problem, it lacks perspective, and often we don’t realise just how much food poverty impacts your neighbours, friends, and colleagues, which remains a hidden struggle for many.
Our blog is designed to keep you up to date on Cultivate Cornwall news and all the different projects we are working on.