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Message from Karl Relton
A Christian once wrote: “Now faith is confidence in what
we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”.
This year will be our tenth year of Ely Foodbank
operations, and we have relied on this basic faith
principle year on year. We have always set ourselves to
help people in crisis need and have put our trust in God
on many occasions to see us through, even when we
couldn’t physically see the resources needed because
they were not yet available. Each time those resources
have arrived, whether it was food donations, money, or
the right person becoming available at just the right
Our world this year seems just as uncertain as ever.
Whether you want to look on the big geo-political
stage, or the harsh struggle of neighbours you may
know down your street, there is uncertainty that gives
cause for worry and anxiety.
Yet we remain confident. We hope for our ability to go
on helping, and we also expressly hope for the day
when our operations will not be necessary because all
are catered for in a renewed society. Of course, the
latter we certainly do not see right now, sadly with
evidence that things will likely get worse before they
improve! Yet that does not diminish our faith, because
for us it is ultimately not in governments or
The writer who wrote the quote above went on to list a
whole dynasty of people who were able to hold out in
faith (you can find it in the Bible: Hebrews chapter 13).
This long inspirational list looks back at past heroes but
concludes with the writer looking forward to something
even better. We share in the writer’s conviction that
God has plans for better… and has had them all along!
- 73 tonnes food given out
- 2,329 vouchers fulfilled
- Equivalent of 25,000 meals given out
- Over 40% of the people helped were children
Sophie Bell, our new Foodbank Manager
Sophie has worked and volunteered for a number of
charities, public sector organisations and emergency
services in frontline and strategic roles, and hopes to
put her communications and project management skills
to good use.
Sophie said: “Although I’ve only been in the role a short
time, I’ve been made to feel very welcome by all of the
wonderful volunteers, clients, agencies and staff. I’m
thrilled to be playing a small part in shaping the future
of something great.”
Caroline Barnes, Warehouse Manager
Caroline said: “I’ve been in this role since July last year.
There’s lots of different aspects to the job but
essentially, along with a team of volunteers, I am
responsible for all the donations that come into the
foodbank. Sorting, storing and then packing them up as
food parcels to go out to clients. I started as a volunteer
a couple of years ago driving the van and generally
helping wherever was needed. Originally from a
scientific background, I was often disheartened
with nothing to show for months of work. However
here at the foodbank I now feel I have a purpose, that
what I’m part of can actually help make a difference and
have a positive impact on a person’s life. It has helped
me see that there is another side to things and to
not always takes things on face value. You get to know
some of the clients and their stories and through this I
know that what I’m doing goes towards helping make
things better for people.”
Pat Del Grazia, Triage Manager
I’m really looking forward to joining the team at Ely
Food Bank to be part of the service that uses Christian
principles of welcome and friendship to help hundreds
of people in the area. I know from my work at Citizens
Advice that food insecurity is very real and a debilitating
cause of stress, debt and relationship breakdown in
families. Following two years of intermittent lockdowns
and uncertain work conditions, we are now facing a
period of increased cost of living which will certainly
bring more families to our service. I hope to learn from
the rest of the team and volunteers the full operations
of Food Bank and will be pleased to discuss ideas for
developing the roles to extend the service, using some
experience from my background in Debt and Benefits’
Ten clients enjoyed a Christmas lunch from Tesco.com
through the Community Champion Partnership. It
made a real difference to those struggling with the cost
of Christmas. They even included Christmas trees to
complete the Christmas cheer. Thank you, Tesco!
Capture just two weeks in December and you will get a
snapshot of the work being done at the Foodbank as
well as a glimpse into the nation’s mood.
In just two weeks in Dec 2020 10.3 tonnes of food was
received from those wishing to make what could be
described as a dark time into something brighter for
those who are in need. The same two weeks in 2021
saw 4.2 tonnes of food received. In each of these time
periods approximately 800 people were fed by Ely
We often hear we are hitting a perfect storm as food
and energy prices rise. People will be having some
serious thoughts as to whether they can support charities in the way they have done in the past.
Foodbank is extremely grateful for the amazing support
and generosity from so many people, and we
understand that donations may decrease but to give a
little is the best gift of all to our work. Every little can
really does help!
With so many lovely contributions to our Hampers, we
were able to give out 300 to our clients as well as
support some other projects in the area. 20/20
Productions/Food Project in March asked for help as
they prepared to give out 800 hampers. We were
pleased to help and in turn helped us to reduce our
pasta mountain into a mound!
Duke of Edinburgh Award
When the Duke of Edinburgh died last year, it
immediately brought an interest to achieve the Award
he had done so much to champion young people.
Students helped pack the hampers and had one or
two broken chocolate Santas to keep them going on a
cold evening in the warehouse. A group of four
students continue to do an hour each week packing the
food parcels ready for centres to distribute.
A client story
"I wanted to bring my friend to you today to prove to
him, it was you that helped me". The client went on to
say that she didn’t need Foodbank any longer because
of the support and advice she had been given from our
partnered Citizens Advice team, as well as the care
shown by our volunteers.
A good news story highlighting our work – this is what
we aim to do; to show interest, get to the issues that
brought people to foodbank and move people on to