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Malvern festival donates more than three tonnes to food bank

13 oct., 2019

Article from: Guardian

Author: Steven Morris

More than three tonnes of essentials and goodies ranging from tins of soup and toothbrushes to cuddly toys and sweets have been donated to one of the UK’s largest single food bank collections.

Visitors to the Malvern Autumn Show in Worcestershire took along enough food, drink and toiletries to fill more than 100 crates.

The organisers of the show, best known for its giant vegetable competition, floral displays and demonstrations by celebrity chefs marked the 25thanniversary of the event by asking visitors to come along with donations. The food and other items will be distributed to people in need in Worcestershire and Gloucestershire by the Trussell Trust.

Diana Walton, the head of shows at the Three Counties Showground, said: “The response to our giant harvest festival collection has been incredible. Our visitors have been extremely generous.”

Walton said organisers believed it was the first time a show like Malvern had organised a food bank collection on such a scale.

Between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019 food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network handed out emergency food supplies to 45,824 children and adults in the Gloucestershire and Worcestershire areas alone, and 142,234 across the West Midlands.

Sarah Barcham, the area manager at the trust, said the charity was overwhelmed by the response.

She said: “No one in the UK should need to turn to a food bank. But during the last year across our network we’ve seen a 19% increase in food bank use – that’s 1.6m emergency food supplies to people in crisis. More than a third of these went to children. We’re working towards a future where no one needs a food bank, but until we reach that point, donations from the public are vital.”

Mark Harwood-Browne, a project manager in education, was among the visitors who came along with a bag full of toiletries. He said: “Areas like Malvern seem affluent but there are always some people who need additional support.”

Another visitor, Gail Sadd, lugged tins of baked beans sanitary products all the way from Dorset. “It took a bit of sorting out but it is a worthy cause,” she said.

As well as contributing to the food bank collections, visitors were treated to the sight of beautiful floral displays and giant vegetables, which included the longest turnip in the world.

Joe Atherton, a regular to the Malvern Autumn Show, managed to nurture a 4 metre-long turnip in the back garden of his Nottinghamshire home. “Every time you plant a seed you hope it’s going to break a world record,” said the 64-year-old.