Musicians raise £10,000 for foodbank

Foyle foodbank

Local musicians helped raise over £10,000 recently for the Foyle foodbank.  Foyle foodbank is a project founded by local churches and community groups in Derry.  They work together towards stopping hunger in the local area.

Foyle foodbank is part of The Trussell Trust’s network of 428 foodbanks and works to tackle food poverty and hunger in local communities.

Trussel Trust

The Trussell Trust supports communities and churches to open foodbanks across the UK.

The Foodbank Network was founded in 2004 after four years of developing the original foodbank based in Salisbury. Since then The Trussell Trust has helped communities work together to launch foodbanks nationwide in a wide range of towns and cities.

In 2018/19, The Trussell Trust’s Foodbank Network provided 1,583,668 three-day emergency food supplies and support to UK people in crisis. Of these, 577,618 went to children.

As a network, the Trust wants to see more people helped out of crisis and fewer people needing foodbanks in the future. That’s why The Trussell Trust and local foodbanks are working together to develop new ways to help people out of crisis through programmes like More Than Food.

How foodbanks work – providing emergency food to people in crisis

Every day people go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income.  A simple box of food makes a big difference, with foodbanks helping to prevent crime, housing loss, family breakdown and mental health problems.

Food is donated

Schools, churches, businesses and individuals donate non-perishable, in-date food to a foodbank. Large collections often take place as part of Harvest Festival celebrations and food supermarkets also provide food.

Food is sorted and packed

Volunteers sort food to check that it’s in date and pack it into boxes ready to give it to people in need. Over 40,000 people give up their time to volunteer at foodbanks.

Professionals identify people in need

Foodbanks partner with a wide range of care professionals.  These include doctors, health visitors, social workers and police to identify people in crisis and issue them with a foodbank voucher.

Clients receive food

Foodbank clients bring their voucher to a foodbank centre where it can be redeemed for three days’ emergency food. Volunteers meet clients over a warm drink or free hot meal and are able to signpost people to agencies able to solve the longer-term problem.

Foyle foodbank

Foyle foodbank is a voluntary, not-for-profit organisation.  Damien McAdams is a member of the Board Of Directors.  Damien said:

“The distribution centre is provided free by Apex Housing.  It is based at the Apex Living Centre in Springtown Industrial Estate, Derry.  A manager and volunteers run the foodbank.  We are always seeking new volunteers.  Anyone wishing to give up their time is always welcome to join us”.

Vision

Damien went on to say: “Our vision is that no-one should go hungry.  Foodbank clients are those who cannot afford to buy food due to low income or are experiencing difficulties whilst waiting for their social security benefits to be agreed and put in place”.

Network of partners  

The foodbank strives to relieve hunger by acquiring and distributing food through a network of partner groups who work within the community.  These partner groups include large food retailers such as Sainsburys, Tesco and individual donors.  Partners also include groups who distribute food vouchers on to those whom they deem to be experiencing food poverty.  Other distribution partners include doctors surgeries and health centres. 

Covid-19

“Given the numbers who are expected to become unemployed, due to the predicted job losses as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic, we will see a large increase in those requiring support,” said Damien.  “In the past month we issued 91 vouchers equating to 231 individuals.  We provided 1813.5 kg of food”. 

Magnificent Seven Crew’s magnificent achievement for Foyle foodbank –  £10,000 donated as a result of their online performances 

Singers and musicians from Derry, Dungiven, Larne and Sligo  make up The Magnificent Seven Crew.  They have come together to help Foyle foodbank in their role of providing food for those who are experiencing food poverty.  Local musician, Leo Fitzpatrick, set up and coordinated the project.  “Through his vision, enthusiasm, talent and commitment, we managed to achieve our target of £10,000 for the foodbank”, said Damien.  “The generosity of the Derry public and further afield has been amazing”.

Damien McAdams and Leo Fitzpatrick

Leo Fitzpatrick, left, and Damien McAdams, right, with members of the Magnificent Seven Crew, who raised an amazing £10,000 for the Foyle foodbank. Photo: Damien McAdams

Entertainers 

It saw up to 20 entertainers perform from home and encourage donations from those who tuned in nightly to see them.  The Magnificent Seven Crew project went live on Facebook on Friday 1 May and within eight weeks achieved its target. 

Free time and talent

Night after night the entertainers gave freely, their time and talent to produce a series of excellent performances.  Some of the performers lost their main source of income as a result of this pandemic and some are also dealing with their own difficult health issues.  It’s important to point out that all of the performers performed free of charge and all donations went to the Foyle foodbank.

Thanks 

The Magnificent Seven Crew project is continuing and anyone wishing to see the performances should tune into their Facebook page:

Damien finished by saying: 

“On behalf of The Board Of Directors and volunteers at the Foyle foodbank, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those singers, musicians and Leo Fitzpatrick for their magnificent achievement.  I also wish to acknowledge the great generosity of all those who donated in any way to the Foyle foodbank”.

Donations to the Foyle foodbank can be sent via PayPal to: https://www.paypal.me/foylefoodbank

You can also hand in or post donations to the food bank at: Apex Living Centre, Springtown Industrial Estate, Derry City.  BT48 0L

About the author

Niall Ó Brolcháin

is a journalist based in Derry in the North of Ireland. He is an Irish speaker with a BA (Hons) degree in Irish Language and Literature and a Master's degree in International Journalism: Hostile Environment Reporting. Passionate about local, national and international human, cultural, language and equality rights, he has extensive experience telling rich stories in words, photo and video both in Ireland and Palestine. email: niallb.babylon@gmail.com

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