From Bedford to Brighton: Food bank partnership helps those in need

Extra food bank donations from Bedford arriving at Brighton station

Bedford Food Bank has helped feed those in need 119 miles away, thanks to The Railway Food Collection, a partnership between food banks in Bedford and Brighton and Govia Thameslink.

The partnership, launched last month, has now seen the Black and Minority Ethnic Community Partnership BMECP Food Bank in Brighton provided with much needed pasta and sanitary products.

Read: Railway Food Collection launched at Bedford station to support Foodbank

Bedford Food Bank had surplus of these items but needed some help getting them to the south coast. Govia Thameslink stepped in and transferred the items on a Thameslink service this morning (11 Aug).

70 kilos of pasta and five boxes of sanitary products arrived just in time for the usual railway food collection day at Brighton station.

“Due to the pandemic, we’ve seen an increasing demand for our service over the last five months. Thanks to generosity from the Bedford community,” said Sarah Broughton from The Bedford Foodbank.

“We are in a fortunate position to have an abundance of certain items so it’s our pleasure to be able to help the BMECP Food Bank in Brighton today.

“This long-distance donation only possible thanks to Govia Thamlesink transporting the goods to Brighton station.”

Bedford Food Bank say they have managed to feed 3,888 people from March to July, thanks to the generosity of local people.

At the height of UK lockdown restrictions in April 2020, the Trussell Trust’s network of food banks saw an 89% increase in need compared to the same period last year.

There was also a 107% increase in emergency food parcels for children.

Govia Thameslink’s Railway Food Collection pilot scheme has been hailed a success by the staff who have helped co-ordinate the collections and transporting of much needed items along the line.

Charlotte Scallon, Head of CSR at Govia Thameslink Railway said: “Railway staff and local communities in both Bedford and Brighton have been very generous…

“We’re pleased to now go the extra mile (or 119 to be exact) taking essential items from the Bedford Food Bank and delivering to those in need via The BMECP Food Bank in Brighton.”

Juliet Ssekitoleko, from the BMECP Food Bank added: “Times are tough, unemployment is high and most BAME communities have been affected with this pandemic.

“The Donors and funders have been a great blessing to our BME community and we’re very grateful to The Bedford Food Bank for getting us these essential items this morning.”

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