Published: 12:00, 22 November 2019
The wait is over for the Sandwich branch of the Deal Area Foodbank after it received a long awaited grant of £3,000 from Sandwich Tollbridge Fund.
The foodbank’s request to the fund’s managing trustees Sandwich Town Council was first heard in January but was turned down because not enough people from the town were using the service.
The following month, an impassioned plea from foodbank supporter Christina Quinn inspired members to part with the money.
But particular details on how the cash would be spent led to a hold up.
A meeting was arranged with project coordinator Sheila Ward who confirmed the money would only help people in Sandwich - a stipulation of the fund.
A cheque for the full amount was handed over earlier this month by mayor Cllr Jeff Franklin and will help set up a new hot meal voucher scheme in time for Christmas. The council joins the fund in supporting plans to have a food and sundries collection box at the Guildhall.
Mrs Ward, spokesman for Deal Area Foodbank, which runs the Sandwich branch, said: “We are extremely grateful to Sandwich Town Council for this grant, which will be used specifically to promote the work of the Foodbank in Sandwich which is based at the Phoenix Centre on Thursdays from 1pm until 3pm.
“The money will be used over the next couple of years to provide hot meal vouchers - a scheme which has been running successfully in Deal for the past year.
“Under this scheme, local cafes are provided with the funds to provide a hot meal, on production of a voucher which we issue to those who are homeless, have no cooking facilities, or to those in temporary extreme need who have young children.
“The cafes to be used in Sandwich will be approached in the next few days and the scheme should be ready to launch before Christmas.
“Without this grant, we could not have been able to initiate this project.”
Last year 169 adults and 123 children relied on food from Sandwich Foodbank and the numbers of people turning to them for help continue to grow.
Christmas is a particularly tough time for families on a low income, and extra donations at this time of year are welcomed.
Volunteers, with encouragement of the council, will also be collecting food and monetary donations at the Christmas Lights switch on Saturday, November 30.
Sandwich Town Clerk Laura Fidler confirmed: “Sandwich Toll Bridge Fund has handed over a cheque for £3,000 to Deal Area Foodbank to specifically assist residents of Sandwich who are experiencing financial hardship.
“There are also plans to have a food and sundries collection box at the Guildhall, the details of which will be confirmed when in place.”