DEVON Freemasons have match funded grants to three foodbanks including Tavistock boosting their coffers by £20,000.

A sum of £6,666 has been presented to Tavistock, Plymouth and Buckleigh Foodbanks after £10,000 donated by Devonshire’s benevolent fund match-funded £10,000 from the National Masonic Charitable Foundation.

All these foodbanks are members of the Trussell Trust, an organisation that strives to eradicate food poverty in the UK.

Located in the United Reform Church in Tavistock, the foodbank and its cafe are a vital hub for many in the town. Running since 2012 it currently supports 23 families (which can be from one to 9 people) with a basic three days of food a week, and that equates to around seven tonnes of food.Figures for 2021/22 are 647 three-day food parcels issued. And in common with the other foodbanks there’s demand for all the other items of living such as nappies, milk, fresh vegetables, toilet rolls etc.

Rev Robert Weston, acting Chair of Tavistock Foodbank and the minister for the United Reformed Church said: ‘Tavistock Foodbank is run entirely by volunteers and relies on donations of food and financial support from the local community. We have been in operation as a Trussell Trust Foodbank since 2012 and have seen a dramatic increase in demand for food parcels over the years.

‘The Tavistock Foodbank is able to support clients in and around Tavistock with advice provided by Citizens’ Advice and fuel vouchers for those households on prepayment meters. On average we are currently supporting twenty households a week, some of these will be families with children, others will be individuals.

‘This generous donation of over £6,000 will cover our running costs for about four months, which will enable the provision of food parcels, advice and support for over 350 households.’

The Trussell Trust said that in the UK, more than 14 million people are living in poverty – including 4.5 million children.

‘We support more than 1,200 foodbank centres in the UK to provide a minimum of three days’ nutritionally-balanced emergency food to people who have been referred in crisis, as well as support to help people resolve the crises they face.

‘Between April 2019 and March 2020, foodbanks in our network provided a record 1.9 million food supplies to people in crisis, an 18% increase on the previous year and during the coronavirus pandemic food banks have seen need rise even further.’