9th February 2021 — A Sevenoaks food bank is 318 kilos heavier thanks to one local school doing their bit for the community.
St Michael’s Prep School based in Otford, surprised charity The Community Cupboard with the generous donation on Monday 1st February following a Christmas collection for the cause.
In total, £965 was raised from parent and staff donations throughout December, which St Michael’s Parents and Friends Association (P & F) used to organise a Sainsbury’s shop of food and toiletries for the charity.
Commenting on the school’s motivation to help the food bank, Co-Chair of St Michael’s P & F, Kelly Downey, said: “Delivering our donation to The Community Cupboard was an amazing and uplifting moment.
"Being able to bring the school together to contribute to a cause which plays such an important role in our community during this time was very rewarding."
Greeted with three car loads of canned foods, long-life products and toiletries, Kelly also describes how delighted the charity were with the school’s generosity.
She added: "The team were really blown away by our donation and thankful for the time we’d taken to raise the money and organise a delivery.
"It was a great feeling to be able to put an initial idea from a St Michael’s parent into action, and to see the impact we would be having on the local community."
Kelly added: "We recognise that this is a very difficult time for everyone, especially those who can’t afford to put food on the table for their families.
"We hope that our donation can be a small step in making a difference for those people."
Since the start of January alone, an additional 22 local families have registered for The Community Cupboard’s support, reflecting the increased pressures caused by the ongoing pandemic across the country.
And it is only with generous donations like those from St Michael’s that the charity can continue to provide help to those who need it most.
Trustee at The Community Cupboard, David Carter said: “We would like to express our extreme gratitude to St Michael’s for their wonderful donation.
"We are very lucky to receive regular donations from local groups, but they are rarely to this scale.
“The food and toiletries kindly given to us by St Michael’s have allowed us to fully restock our shelves as well as putting plenty of stock on standby for new referrals.
"The size of this donation will allow us to give substantial food packages to the 22 new families who were referred to us in January.
"St Michael’s help is invaluable to us and will make a huge difference.”
Since its launch in January 2020, The Community Cupboard has continued to help families in Sevenoaks, and has extended its help to cover a 20 mile radius including Edenbridge, Westerham, Surrey, Sidcup, Rochester and Ashford, due to the pandemic.
The Trustee added: “We began as a small group of people determined to make a difference locally in an area where food banks were lacking.
"Little did we know, a global pandemic was on its way and our efforts would be needed tenfold. To say we hit the ground running would be an understatement.”
Run by four members and six volunteers, The Community Cupboard works tirelessly to deliver parcels to families, and in January alone distributed 3.1 tonnes of food, toiletries and essential items.
David said: “We began the charity on the foundation that ‘if we can help, we will’, and with the community’s help, I’m proud to say we are doing just that.
"We see a lot of hardship and sadness in doing what we do, but it really opens our eyes to the incredible hard work various organisations and charities do in our community.
"Thanks to generous groups like St Michael’s, we can confidently say ‘yes, we can help you’.”