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Canterbury Food Bank offers organic fruit and veg to those struggling financially in Christmas run-up

A food bank is providing those in need with fresh organic food in the run-up to Christmas - in a bid to lift people's spirits and promote healthy eating.

The innovative initiative launched this week has seen Canterbury Food Bank team up with an organic farm, which will deliver boxes of fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs directly to those who are struggling financially.

Volunteers pack food parcels at Canterbury Food Bank's warehouse in Whitstable, in June 2019. Picture: Paul Amos
Volunteers pack food parcels at Canterbury Food Bank's warehouse in Whitstable, in June 2019. Picture: Paul Amos

CFB distributes thousands of meals each month to people in financial crisis across the Canterbury district, and it has seen demand soar since the start of the pandemic.

Usually, the charity's parcels can only include long-life food, as donated items are often stored at its warehouse for several weeks.

But its new pilot scheme will see the food bank issue vouchers that those in need can redeem at Canterbury-based organic farm Jack's Veg - which will then deliver fresh vegetables and eggs to their doors.

Food bank coordinator Angela Gardiner says she feels the initiative is being launched at a crucial time, when many are suffering from low spirits due to the pandemic.

“We are really pleased to offer an organic veg box from Jack's Veg alongside our emergency food parcels," she said.

Canterbury Food Bank coordinator Angela Gardiner
Canterbury Food Bank coordinator Angela Gardiner

“I feel it is an important time to offer some fresh vegetables alongside our food parcels.

“During the Covid pandemic a lot of people are feeling lonely, stressed and unhappy. It is a difficult time and if you can’t afford food on top of that it must be really stressful.

“We are in the position over the next few weeks to be able to offer some healthy fresh vegetables to nourish people.

“Hopefully this will not only lift their spirits but improve their physical wellbeing.

“Fresh veg and eggs will be a great addition to the store cupboard staples that we give out. It will enable individuals or families to do so much more with the contents of the food parcels we supply.

CFB's food parcels are usually made up of long-life items such as dried and tinned foods. Stock picture: donations arrive by van at a CFB distribution point
CFB's food parcels are usually made up of long-life items such as dried and tinned foods. Stock picture: donations arrive by van at a CFB distribution point

“This might include adding some fresh greens to a pasta dish, or being able to make mashed potato to go alongside tinned meat, or home-made chips for the children."

The project will run up until Christmas, but may be extended depending on funding.

A spokesman for Jack’s Veg added: “We’re delighted to help such a great local cause.

“Each voucher will get someone a seasonal veg box and eggs all grown and produced on Jack’s farm.”

CFB provides emergency three-day food parcels to individuals and families in financial need across Canterbury, Whitstable, Herne Bay and surrounding villages.

It has donation baskets in all leading supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons, where people can leave dried or tinned food items.

The charity cannot accept donations of fresh food directly.

Anyone who can not afford to buy food can make contact via CFB's website or by ringing 01227 936450.

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