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£5,000 food bank donation helps residents during lockdown

Spitfire Services are helping local residents of Castle Vale through the current outbreak with their food bank, and can now further this offer of support following a £5,000 donation from The Pioneer Group.

Spitfire Services works to combat poverty and hunger within their local community in addition to offering a wealth of advice around money, benefit, housing or employment issues. With the newly received funds the charity will be able to increase provisions of emergency food to people in crisis.

Due to the coronavirus lockdown, the food bank has seen an uptake in usage and is currently helping over 100 families per week in comparison to an average of 40 families in February.

Ray Goodwin, CEO of Spitfire Services, said:

While we have always been working to tackle food poverty and hunger in our local community, we have seen a significant increase due to the impact of the virus. This is a difficult time as more people, including myself, are having to self-isolate due having symptoms or underlying health conditions.

Now more than ever we are incredibly thankful for The Pioneer Group’s generous donation. Our strong partnership with the group is supporting efforts to make a difference, feed more families, and, I do believe, save people’s lives.

Unlike other food banks, recipients do not need food vouchers. Instead, the food bank accepts referrals from organisations such as The Pioneer Group and its subsidiaries, including Compass Support, community groups, and the local MP.

Simon Wilson, CEO of The Pioneer Group, said:

The food donations that Spitfire Services provide are absolutely vital; nobody in our community should have to face going hungry.

In times of crisis, we all need to pull together, and I am proud of the team at The Pioneer Group who are seeking out those in our community in most need and ensuring that they have access to food. This is made possible by working in partnership with Spitfire Services food bank.

Spitfire Services are now also working together with The Pioneer Group to offer a food parcel delivery service to those who are vulnerable and unable to visit the food bank in person.

How the food bank is helping feed Castle Vale families

The food bank recently benefited two elderly residents who are both housebound. The couple are shielded as they are over 70, and had no access to any food, help or support. The Pioneer Group alerted the food bank and the team jumped into action, with a parcel of essentials being delivered the same day.

A mother of four was finding it difficult to access benefits since her partner was recently made redundant. She came to the food bank in a distressed state and worried about to feed her children. Jane Roche, Operations Manager at Spitfire Services and staff from Compass Support took two large bags of food to her. She was very grateful and thanked the team with the promise to get in touch if she needed more food until benefits came through.

Another Castle Vale resident was waiting for a food parcel from Birmingham City Council, but needed bread. Although, the food bank had run out, Jane bought a loaf from the shop and dropped it off to her. The recipient was really grateful as she has ongoing health problems, was self-isolating and had no one to shop for her.

A single man on a very low income had no food and doesn’t get paid until 21 April. He has received a food parcel a week for the last three weeks. He said “god bless you, I don’t know what I would do without this service” when he collected his last parcel.

An 84 year old gentleman requested a food parcel for him and his wife who is 75. Both are self-isolating and have health problems, with family far away in Cornwall. The food bank team delivered a food parcel, and assured them that they could call anytime for help. They were thrilled with the food parcel as it was enough for a few days and offered lots of variety.

How to access the food bank:

Bring a referral from one of Spitfire Services partners or call or email the team on 0121 747 5932 or contact to discuss your situation.

How to donate to the food bank:

Donations are always welcomed and can be left safely in the porch of our office at Spitfire House, 10 High Street, Castle Vale, Birmingham B35 7PR, during opening hours Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.

If you would like to donate but are unsure what items are best, the following items can be included to make up a typical food parcel:

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Cereal
  • Tinned Meat/Fish
  • Tinned Vegetables
  • Tinned Tomatoes
  • Tinned Fruit
  • Beans, lentils & pulses
  • Soup
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Instant Mash
  • Crisps
  • Jam/Peanut Butter
  • Fruit Juice/Squash
  • Tea/Coffee
  • UHT Milk
  • Biscuits/Chocolate treats/Sweets

It’s natural that the first thing anyone thinks to donate to a food bank is food, but toiletries and hygiene products are also extremely important.

We can also try to provide some essential non-food items to adults and children in crisis such as toiletries, household items, feminine products, and baby supplies.

Non-food donations:

  • Shopping bags (i.e. bags for life)
  • Deodorant
  • Toilet paper
  • Shower gel
  • Shaving gel
  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Hand wipes
  • Laundry liquid detergent
  • Laundry powder
  • Washing up liquid
  • Sanitary towels
  • Tampons
  • Nappies
  • Baby wipes
  • Baby food