One of Wales’s leading food wholesalers has stepped up to help hard-up families in the Vale of Glamorgan with a mission of mercy to a food bank at Coastlands Family Church.
Harlech Foodservices, who supply businesses, schools and care homes across Wales, loaded up their delivery vans for the first of regular trips to drop off much-needed supplies at the Vale Food Bank at Coastlands Family Church in Barry.
Their first delivery included pallets of corn flakes and porridge, ketchup, rice pudding, muffin and pastry mixes, fruit juice, lamb gravy, and a host of other items, even including hot chocolate sticks, almond and banana milk, marmalade, mayonnaise and hot dogs!
Harlech Foodservice Managing Director David Cattrall, who lives in the Vale of Glamorgan himself, said: “We see ourselves as an all-Wales business and we want to supply businesses across the whole country and the same goes for food banks in these difficult times.
“Clearly because of lockdown we are not supplying the amount we would normally to our customers in the health, care and education sectors or to restaurants and pubs so that has left us with £250,000 of surplus food.
“In the circumstances the best thing we can do with that surplus is to direct it to food banks across Wales and as long as we have a surplus then we will continue to do that.
“It’s good that we are able to help people having a difficult time and we’re delighted that across the Vale of Glmaorgan the food we have donated is being put to good use.”
Phil Morgan, of the Vale Foodbank, said: “We’d like to thank Harlech Foodservice very much. It was great to get the call from them and to hear they wanted to support us.
“The Foodbank was set up in 2011 but because of the pandemic we made the decision to switch to a food distribution system based at Coastlands Church because many of our volunteers are older people.
“We have seen a remarkable rise in demand from people and families who are struggling through furlough or on Universal Credit.
“The Foodbank deliveries cover the whole of the Vale of Glamorgan and in our busy times we average 80 to 100 deliveries a week – we spend three days delivering and two days packing the bags and over Christmas we were delivering over 100 parcels.
“There are an increasing number of people who are having to ask for a food bank parcel as the daily demand of life just becomes too much.”
The Vale Foodbank, supported by the Trussell Trust has operated from seven sites across the Vale of Glamorgan in Dinas Powys, Palmerstown, Barry, St Athan and Llantwit Major.
It was founded by local churches with the aim of working together to stop hunger in the area and it relies on donations of food from individuals, churches, schools and other organisations and businesses like Harlech Foodservice.
The Harlech deliveries are organised by Ceri Brown, Harlech Foodservices Digital Project Manager, who said: “We have often donated to food banks but with the pandemic the need is so great and like so many others we were inspired by Marcus Rashford and wanted to do more to help.
“The effect of the current lockdown has been to leave us with plenty of stock so we have made arrangements and are delivering to the Vale Foodbank and to other food banks across South Wales.
“At Vale Phil and his team are great, very enthusiastic, and are doing some incredible work.
“Overall we have up to ten delivery vans going out several times a week to food banks across Wales and the border counties because it’s an ongoing project.
“There are a lot of people out there facing really tough times and we’re just doing our bit to help them.”