For over 17 years, Andover Foodbank has offered emergency, long life food to those who find themselves in crisis. However, the needs it seeks to meet do change. As a result some people rely on the foodbank for a longer time and it has become clear that these clients would benefit from additional fresh food, alongside the regular box of basics.

Head of Foodbank Chloe Roberts said: “At its core a foodbank is a safe store of food that can be given in times of emergency to anyone in need. To ensure we always have food in our bank, products do have to be easily stored for a long time. So we ask our generous supporters to donate store cupboard items such as tins, packets and jars. Every box we give out is packed full of nutritionally balanced products to create meals that will nourish and sustain. However, we do understand that our clients would sometimes prefer fresh food, particularly if they need to use our service for more than a week or two.”

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Andover Advertiser: Chloe Roberts with Andover market stallholders Ian Woodward and Tony ClowesLast year the charity successfully launched a partnership with traders on Andover’s Thursday and Saturday markets. Many clients are now offered a £5 voucher with their emergency food box, to redeem against fresh produce on the market. The scheme has several benefits. It supports the market, which is valued by the whole community, and it allows foodbank clients to choose fruit, vegetables, fresh bread or cheese to supplement the contents of their food box.

Chloe continued: “The market vouchers are among our biggest regular expenses, but we believe they add great value to our clients. This initiative has only been possible with the support of generous donors who choose to give money throughout the year, which cover our annual running costs as well as projects such as this. We are very grateful to these supporters.”

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The foodbank also works with local fresh food business Abel and Cole, to distribute its surplus fresh produce – saving it from going to waste. The left over produce, which varies according to the season, is collected weekly and shared among various local agencies including homeless charities and those who support young families. Any remainder is taken back to the foodbank where clients can choose something extra when collecting their food box.

Chloe said: “Abel and Cole are just one of the many food producers and distributors based in Andover who frequently offer the foodbank donations in kind. We’re often surprised by an email or a phone call offering us trays of tinned vegetables, boxes of tea or cartons of flapjacks! We also receive financial and practical help from the wider business community in Andover, supplementing the support we receive from local churches, voluntary groups and many, many individuals. Our hardworking volunteers feel that the whole community is fully behind the work that they do.”

The list of items to donate and further information on Andover Foodbank can be found on the organisation’s Facebook page