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Community | COVID-19

Rotarians raising tens of thousands of pounds for foodbanks

Rotarians raising tens of thousands of pounds for foodbanks

Rotary clubs may not be holding weekly face-to-face meetings during the coronavirus lockdown, but Rotarians are still doing their bit to help the local community – in particular foodbanks.

Rotarians in the Thames Valley are on course to hitting the £100,000 barrier in a mammoth fund-raising bid to support foodbanks and other charitable organisations.

After just five weeks, the District 1090 initiative has raised £76,725, thanks to clubs in the region donating the cash they would have spent on meals at their weekly meetings.

The idea was hatched by Pangbourne Rotarian Joy Arnott as a means of supporting foodbanks in particular during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And former District Governor Joy has been blown away by the success of the fund-raiser.

She said: “We ware co-ordinating with Rotary clubs initially donating their meal money to food banks. This has now expanded to include clubs donating to any organisations in need of assistance during the pandemic.

After just five weeks, the District 1090 initiative has raised £76,725, thanks to clubs in the region donating the cash they would have spent on meals at their weekly meetings.”

“By the end of week five, our total was an amazing £76,725.  At this rate, I am hoping we will exceed £100,000 by the end of this Rotary year.”

In Scotland, a group of well-intentioned businessmen in Broughty Ferry, near Dundee, came together to start a food bank for their community as a result of the hardship experienced with the COVID-19 shutdown.

They started a crowd-funding effort on the JustGiving website and have so far raised a little short of £10,000.

Broughty Ferry Rotary has supported this local initiative with a further donation of £1,000 to help them on their way.

Graham Haig from the Rotary club explained that they have also been helping the foodbank by supporting them with deliveries.

In Scotland, a group of well-intentioned businessmen in Broughty Ferry, near Dundee, came together to start a food bank for their community as a result of the hardship experienced with the COVID-19 shutdown.

He said: “For over five years, Broughty Ferry Rotary has supported an established foodbank in Dundee with weekly donations from members.

“They were recently being flooded with requests from social service groups to help families and whose funds were so low, so Broughty Ferry Rotary donated £1,000 to them too, to keep their vital work going.

“Since the start of the shutdown, many Rotarians have donated their weekly meeting costs to our good causes and we are about to give a further donation at these foodbanks to keep their good work buoyant.”

Colchester Rotary is doing things differently in order to fulfil their mandate of making a difference in the Essex community.

The club committed to set aside up to £15,000 for distribution to local good causes who may be struggling to get back to some form of normality.

Funds will be raised by asking members to use some of the money they no longer spend on their weekly Rotary lunches – supplemented by funds from club reserves.

To get started cheques have now been presented to the Colchester Foodbank, Headway Essex, the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust Well Being Fund, and Next Chapter, a Colchester-based charity working with victims of domestic violence.

Colchester Rotary club committed to set aside up to £15,000 for distribution to local good causes who may be struggling to get back to some form of normality.”

The club is also providing on-going support to other local organisations such as Young Carers, Age Concern Colchester, Beacon House and special needs children.

Club President, John Powell, said: “We will not be able to support every good cause, but we will use our best endeavours to reach out to the neediest in our community.

“These are special times and we will need to redouble our efforts and be guided by our key principle of making a difference,”

In South Lincolnshire, South Holland Rotary has been working with its local foodbank. The club has offered financial support to the Agape Foodbank in Spalding.

“We have similarly given financial support to the local refuge for women and families who have suffered domestic abuse,” reports Steve Colby.

“We are delighted to have given money to the local COVID 19 Kindness Team covering Spalding, Pinchbeck and various other villages, with volunteers doing their best to ensure that they give supplies to people who are genuinely in need.”

In Somerset, Weston Rotary Club has donated £2,000 to the town’s foodbank in support of their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Frederique Wigmore, from the Weston Food Bank, thanked the Rotarians saying: “We are delighted to receive such a generous donation at a time when our resources are under pressure like never before.”

In these difficult times, Rotarians wanted to support local efforts and we know that the excellent work of the Food Bank is making a real difference.”

President Peter Castell added: “In these difficult times, Rotarians wanted to support local efforts and we know that the excellent work of the Food Bank is making a real difference.

“As we cannot meet, we agreed the donation during one of our weekly Zoom calls.”