How Kettering food bank helped the community through 100 days of lockdown

Generous donations have helped ensure people didn't go hungry

By Sam Wildman
Thursday, 9th July 2020, 11:31 am
Kelly Mercer.
Kelly Mercer.

A Kettering food bank has marked 100 days of feeding hundreds of families through the Covid-19 lockdown.

Highfield Food Bank organiser Kelly Mercer finished work just before the lockdown started in March, went to McDonald's as it was about to close and "cheekily" asked if they had anything they could donate.

The next day she got a call to say the food bank could have some food - and it spiralled from there with donations from Costa, Subway, Greggs, Tesco, Morrisons and more with pubs also donating crisps and peanuts.

One of the lockdown stalls.

Incredibly the donations have meant they have managed to feed hundreds of mouths without having to spend anything since the nation shut down in March.

Kelly said: "The fact we haven't had to buy anything and it's all been donations has been amazing.

"Before lockdown we were struggling to have enough food but in what should have been the hardest time people have been more generous."

At the start they ran the food bank every day from 8am to 6am, and it is still running now for two hours a day.

They have given out hundreds of parcels - delivering 30 a day for the first four weeks - with days where more than 40 people would queue up. Whatever the food bank had, those in need could have.

The food bank normally helps the people on the Highfield estate, but throughout lockdown it has been helping people across Kettering as well as in Isham and Finedon.

Kelly added: "At lot of people have struggled with their mental health and anxiety throughout lockdown and I think we helped them with that as well. It was a scary time and nobody knew what would happen.

"They came down, got their stuff and had a chat. For many we were the only people they would see all day."

In her day jobs Kelly runs the Highfield Community Centre and is a supervisor at Glendon's scout centre.

She is usually so busy but when lockdown came she had no jobs to go to - and so running the food bank helped her because it was like she was at work.

July 1 marked 100 days of the lockdown and they marked it with a socially-distanced event with bunting, balloons, donated cakes and goody packs for children.

Kelly thanked everyone who had donated and helped her run the food bank.

She said: "I still cannot believe we have had 100 days of providing a food bank without having to buy anything.

"Even now we are having 10 to 20 come. We will definitely keep going until we reach 150."

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