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Salford Food Parcels; the cost of living crisis bites hard.

Salford Food Parcels began in September 2011 to support vulnerable families in need of emergency food. However, now the cost-of-living crisis bites hard and Yvonne Simms, the founder of Salford Food Parcels said, ‘We are struggling to feed everyone now. It’s never been this bad and we need help to keep going.’

Salford Food Parcels is a community run, Independent food bank. It has no Council or Government resources and runs from the Emmanuel Church, Langworthy Road in Salford every Wednesday morning. Yvonne and her family have run the food bank with no paid staff. It’s run by volunteers from within the Salford Community to provide emergency food to the Salford community.

It’s a proud organisation who quietly gets on with helping others. They provided emergency food parcels during Covid and now, the cost-of-living crisis is biting hard. Yvonne is worried as more local families are asking for help, and she’s running out of resources to support them.

Tables of food at Salford Food Parcels.

Salford Food Parcels support vulnerable families in Salford.

Originally, Salford Food Parcels supported destitute asylum seekers and worked closely with the Red Cross, who provided funding. However, Yvonne quickly realised that food poverty was on her doorstep with local families in Salford. Yvonne started to support them and grew food from her allotment. It is important to Yvonne that she provides healthy, and organic emergency food and her chickens lay the eggs she donates. Together, with other residents of Salford they also ran the Holiday Hunger project giving meals to children during the school holidays.

I first met Yvonne at the Buile Hill Autumn Fair in 2018. She and I were aside of each other as she promoted Salford Food Parcels. I was there supporting Salford Veterans for the Breakfast Club and had just set up Verve Recruitment.

‘We have no marketing budget, how do people find us?’

Yvonne was worried; people didn’t know about Salford Food Parcels, she had no marketing budget, and without it, how would anyone know where to get emergency food? I understood and offered to write blogs for her, free; I’ve been doing that ever since. The blogs helped people to contact us if they needed help. When they did, Yvonne and I would share details and together, we supported them. This was invaluable during Covid; often Yvonne and Martin would drive to people’s homes and leave emergency food on doorsteps.

There was a need, we identified it and then met the need together. Neither of us were paid, nor did we want to be; we simply got on , like many others, with helping each other.

Little boy holding a corn ear , text reads thank you as the cover photo on Salford Food Parcels Blog

In July 2020, I wrote an article for Yvonne about the Royal recognition for volunteers and foodbanks during the pandemic. Salford Food Parcels had been recognised for the vital work they did, and Yvonne was in shock; she never expected, nor wanted recognition. However, she acknowledged secretly, it was nice to be recognised.

As nice as these praises are, todays world is different and sadly, volunteering and foodbanks are considered normal. But, unlike other normal support networks, many don’t get funding. They rely on donations and the kindness of like-minded people who want to make a difference.

The effects of the cost of living crisis bites hard

I wrote another blog during COVID, ‘Emergency Food for People Facing Food Poverty’. The reaction to the blog brought it home to both of us, the harsh reality of the pandemic. Yvonne said, ‘during Covid, we supplied 50-60 parcels and delivered up to 15 more parcels each week.’

‘Because of the cost-of-living crisis, we’re giving out double the parcels we did then. From January we had to ask people what their financial status is; we’re getting too many people coming asking for help. Sadly, we had to limit ourselves to the neediest, and we’ve had to limit ourselves to covering the M3, M5, M6, M27, M30 areas.’

‘In the past, we helped anyone from local areas not included in these areas. Regardless of this, we still deliver another 2-4 parcels a week to people who are unwell and can’t get to us because of health problems, regardless of where they are.’

image of three people talking in the waiting room at Salford Food Parcels.

Salford Food Parcels don’t run a voucher or referral requirement.

Yvonne added, ‘We don’t run a voucher or referral requirement, we simply help where we can. Since September last year, (9 months) we have given out up to 3000 food parcels to single people or families. However, the numbers of people given food, and who we continue to feed, continues to rise.’

‘When we have them, we give incontinence pads, condoms, and nappies and the monthly toiletry package to those who come most weeks in the previous month. (We found people were coming just the week when we gave the toiletries out)’

‘We received a Lottery Community grant in November, which made this possible. Since the middle of November 2022, when we received the grant, we have spent £8067 on food and toiletries. Since September, we have spent over £10000 and in May we spent £1400.’

The cost of supporting vulnerable people is rising.

Yvonne said, ‘ the Emmanuel church management committee requires rent payment. We pay for the website, DBS checks, and pay public liability insurance for the room. (This is another £1000 per year!)

‘Thankfully, we have a small group of people who give monthly to support us either directly into the bank or through local giving. We have also received donations from churches and our Armed Forces (such as the harvest festival and Christmas.)’

Christmas donations for Salford Food Parcels from Armed Forces Veterans and the community in Salford.

Christmas gifts for children in Salford donated by Armed Forces Veterans and the local community to Salford Food Parcels…

‘The charities we either buy food cheaply from, or who donate to us, are also struggling with getting supplies. If we don’t get more funding, we will run out of money before October/November. We are applying for more grants in the hope we can keep going; but, we need help.’

People who are homeless, families on low-income and people in receipt of benefits are supported by Salford Food Parcels. Yvonne said, ‘We are also the last hope for those who don’t meet the criteria from other food banks because we don’t operate a voucher of referral requirement.’

‘We regularly support people who have life-threatening illnesses. Many of them didn’t get government or British Red Cross support or they went through the destitute asylum process. At Salford Food Parcels, everyone is welcome. We do not discriminate against anyone and we support all age groups and ethnicities.’

Many smaller organisations rely heavily on donations.

Yvonne and I have worked together for a long time. We started the Knitting for Babies campaigns and Yvonne supports the campaigns for our beloved NHS with Bereavement Blankets, hearts, teddies and knitted toys for the Swan Team at Salford Royal Hospital.

We donate knitted children’s toys to Salford council for foster children. These were donated to us from knitting groups throughout Greater Manchester. The knitted baby clothes went to community centres and Sure Start centres, who gave them directly to mums in need. To prevent vulnerability, we worked together once more and are now stronger together.

Over 15000 knitted items have been delivered so far with the help of the kind ladies who knit, crochet, and support us. In order to reduce vulnerability and improve quality of life, we made direct donations to local mums and babies. This little ball of wool, delivered with love, has a huge social impact for us.

Similarly, Salford Food Parcels have delivered huge social impact in Salford since 2011. While they enjoy Royal recognition, they depend on donations to stay afloat during these tough times. Can you help?

Display of knitted toys and baby items. The text reads kindness is the Ladies who knit.

Donations are crucial for small community groups like Salford Food Parcels. Salford Food Parcels is a small group that doesn’t get money from the government or their local council, unlike bigger charities. They are the backbone of our communities who prevent vulnerability and restore pride to hungry families. We must support them in order to do this.

No one likes to ask for help, but in today’s world, we have normalised food banks. Salford Food Parcels help despite the difficulties caused by Universal Credit, and now we work together as a community. However, food banks themselves need support, and when you are small, you are often overlooked. Thankfully, during the pandemic, we recognised those who helped. Now, as the cost-of-living crisis bites hard, we must do so again.

However, the kindness of a woman who cared enough to help others, needs help herself. Salford Food Parcels seeks help while in a vicious cycle for funding, and Yvonne needs financial support to keep Salford Food Parcels running as the cost-of-living crisis bites hard.

Local Authorities and councils were impacted by austerity and the cost-of-living crisis. However, they are government funded; without grassroots organisations like Salford Food Parcels supporting them, our communities will suffer.

If you could help, please donate on the Local Giving page on Salford Food Parcels website at https://localgiving.org/charity/SalfordFoodParcels/

Yvonne Simms receiving the Over 55 volunteer award from Salford Star
Yvonne receiving the Star of Salford Award for volunteering.

We are not chasing funding, we are chasing our hearts…

Also, if you are reading this and struggling, please, don’t be put off contacting us or struggle alone. Verve’s mission was achieved during the pandemic. Yvonne and I wanted charities and community groups to come together. So, we networked with like-minded people from community centres, charities, food banks, and local businesses including our Armed Forces.

So, if we can’t help, we will know someone who can and we’ll refer you to them. We’re not chasing funding, we are chasing our hearts. And, it’s why we’ll get through this, together…


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