Petworth foodbank offers support to those in need

The Trussell Trust recorded that 2.5m food bank parcels were given to people in crisis in the financial year from April 2020 to March 2021.

Foodbanks have been a lifeline for many people during the pandemic.

There are a number across the county with one in Midhurst and one in Petworth.

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Sara Bennie, from Petworth foodbank, said: “We have seen an increase in foodbank requests since the beginning of the pandemic.

Picture: Kate Shemilt

“At the height of lockdown we were receiving a request for an average of five boxes of food a week. Two drivers then collected the required number of boxes (determined by the number of people in the household) and then delivered them to clients.”

The Petworth foodbank covers Petworth, Coldwaltham, Fittleworth, Loxwood, Plaistow, Northchapel, Wisborough Green, Pulborough and even as far as Storrington and Rudgwick

Sara said: “Quite often it isn’t the address of the client that is important but the school a child attends ie a child who attends Fittleworth worth school but family lives in Storrington.”

For Christmas the Midhurst and Petworth Rotary are donating goodie bags for every child receiving kids lunch packs this Christmas and includes mince pies, chocolates, oranges, chocolate and a cracker.

Food can be donated to shops such as the Co-op in Petworth, village shops and sometimes schools and churches.

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These donations are collected by our team and taken to the foodbank warehouse in Chichester on a weekly basis where it is checked for sell-by dates and then sorted.

Sara said: “Our packing team send a request for our needs to the warehouse each week and trays of non-perishable food, household cleaning stuff, toiletries etc are then brought back to the United Reform Church by our driver volunteers.

“The packing team led by Lizzie then get to work ensuring that we have sufficient boxes for our emergency call outs. The plea for drivers to deliver emergency food is sent out by Ellie on WhatsApp and whoever is available will respond to the request that day. Sometimes time is of the essence.”

Foodbank support is not supposed to be ongoing but short term emergency support. Schools, doctors, health visitors, churches may all identify people in need or clients may apply for vouchers.

The foodbank is always looking for volunteers, visit