A new independent Burnham and Highbridge food bank service is gearing up for a busy autumn and winter as the cost-of-living crisis affects local families.

The service – called Highbridge and Burnham Hunger Relief – is being run by several volunteers, led by Shannon Marie.

Operating from the town’s BAY (Burnham Area Youth) Centre in Cassis Close every Monday morning, it is different to the existing food bank.

Shannon says: “Anyone needing a little support in the way of a food parcel, toiletries, or even if they are alone and would like to help or just join us for a cuppa and chat, we are there every Monday from 10am until 12noon.”

“They can just turn up and help themselves to what they need for the week, all on a strictly confidential basis.”

She adds: “I’ve helped with several local community kids groups over the years when we would put out sandwiches and fruit for them to enjoy between games and activities.”

“I got to know many of them and heard about their home life, with many struggling and going without food or leaving it until Fridays without realising they had nothing for the weekend and no way of getting a referral. That’s when I started helping.”

“With bills rising and many more struggling, I have found we couldn’t always deliver the amounts asked so felt it best to find a permanent base.”

“I spoke to the Bay Centre, who were so lovely and supportive, and they are letting me run it here every Monday from 10am until 12noon and also on Christmas Eve from 6pm until 8pm.”

“I’ve had a few volunteers join to help. I’ve also let the local schools, the village agents and Sedgemoor know that we are here so they can refer families to us if need be.”

“I’m registered to receive food donations from Lidl, Aldi and M&S – and welcome food donations too if local people want to help.”

She adds that the group has a Facebook page — Highbridge and Burnham Hunger Relief.

A spokesperson for Highbridge and Burnham Foodbank said they wish the venture well and added: “Whilst the majority of our users are referred to us by support agencies, we do provide emergency food for those arriving without a referral. Key to our offering is the focus on, where appropriate, signposting our users to additional support beyond food. Our Foodbank is hugely well supported locally, for which we are extremely grateful.”

Pictured: Two of the group’s volunteers Melissa and Colin with some of the donations

 
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