A food bank was overwhelmed with generosity this Christmas – with thanks to one man in particular.
Nick Buckland, 35, started raising money for Greenwich Food Bank in March when the first lockdown started, and redoubled his fundraising efforts over December to make sure no one would go without at Christmas.
Mr Buckland has raised more than £30,000 in total, £6,000 of which was donated in the run-up to the holidays.
Mr Buckland said: “I’m so grateful to everyone – residents of Greenwich and beyond – all the people that have not only donated to the food bank but people that have publicised it.
“The reception on social media has been great. People have been willing to support the food bank and help not only donate but publicise – because that’s the really important part, raising awareness.
“People have been really, really generous with their time and their money and I know that the food bank is really grateful for all that support, so it’s really been incredible. We are just so impressed and humbled by how much support we have had.”
The food bank also had so many donations over the festive period that it ran out of space to store them.
Alan Robinson, chief executive of Greenwich Food Bank, said: “One thing we have discovered in the food bank is the community around us are very generous and the pandemic has actually caused people to be more aware and conscious of the need around them rather than swallowed up into their own little bubble.
“People have been incredibly generous – both with money, like Nick, and providing donations. We are really grateful for the support that we get from the community. Without them we could do nothing.
“It sort of overwhelmed us just before Christmas. We had to say to people can you please not bring us any more food because we haven’t got any more space where we can physically put it.”
Mr Buckland was prompted to start fundraising last year by fears that the pandemic would leave many people unable to afford food.
He initially hoped to volunteer at the food bank as well, but was unable to after he started to have Covid symptoms.
Instead he put all his energy into doing what he could from home – raising money through his online campaign.
The money proved very useful for the food bank, as an increase in home deliveries meant that less items were being put in donation boxes at supermarkets.
Mr Buckland said: “I actually had people say to me that they were grateful in that respect because they were used to shopping and donating at the supermarket and all of a sudden they weren’t able to do that so it was useful for them to have a way to donate directly.”
The Trussell Trust reported that in its network of food banks more than 1.2 million food parcels were distributed between April 1 and September 30 last year – a 47 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2019.
Pictured top: A volunteer at Greenwich Food Bank
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.