Rushcliffe Rotary Club has stepped up to the plate to help the award-winning Cotgrave Community Kitchen ensure that no-one in the community goes hungry this winter.
Through Rotary4foodbanks, the Rushcliffe club has made donations totalling £1500 in recent months, providing vital food supplies for food parcels and weekly cooked meals for around 100 people locally.
Santa’s elf, Sandra Morrey, is one of eight Rotary Club members helping to pick up food donated by local supermarkets and deliver fresh hot and healthy meals each week to people in need in the Cotgrave area. This year especially, the work they do is proving vital as people struggle to cope with the impact of the pandemic, and the economic downturn.
The kitchen was set up by Jill Mathers and Farah Jamil in 2019, in conjunction with Metropolitan Housing and Rushcliffe Borough Council, to help combat loneliness as well as to prevent food waste and make sure no-one went hungry. Local people came together to eat and share company each Thursday at the Community café in Woodview.
But when the pandemic struck earlier this year the team had to change the way they worked and they needed extra volunteers to help out. When Sandra Morrey and her Rushcliffe Rotary colleagues heard of the need, they stepped in. “I mentioned it at a club Zoom meeting and immediately eight members volunteered practical help. Straight away we made a financial donation from our club funds and it has grown from there,” says Sandra.
The Rushcliffe Club teamed up with other Rotary Clubs as part of Rotary4foodbanks – which pools funds and buys food at bulk discounted prices which it then shares between over 50 foodbanks across the East Midlands and South Yorkshire. So far Rotary4foodbanks has distributed over £100,000 worth of food supplies across the region.
Now, while Sandra’s daughter’s partner Jon volunteers as a chef the kitchens, she and her husband Chris deliver 18 meals every Thursday, together with food parcels of essential supplies for some of the most vulnerable in the community. “The food provides a vital lifeline,” she explains, “but so does the company we provide on our rounds, just checking that people are OK. For some people who are shielding, we may be the only human contact they have each week.”
Currently, Cotgrave Community Kitchen delivers 100 meals every week. Like Rotary, the project is run entirely by volunteers.
Sandra fears that demand for foodbank services will grow as the winter progresses. “There is real hardship out there. Rotary is renowned for the work it does in local communities and our club link with Cotgrave Community Kitchen is just one example of that commitment. Regionwide, the Rotary4foodbanks scheme is looking to raise another £100,000 through donations to ensure that it can continue its work in 2021. The scheme is run entirely by volunteers so has no overheads – every penny given goes straight to buying food for those in need.”
Rotary4foodbanks has set up a just giving page for those wishing to help. To donate visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/rotary4foodbanks