Bassetlaw Food Bank has sadly been the target of several acts of mindless vandalism recently. This behaviour shows a lack of respect and awareness for what the charity does in Bassetlaw and the support offered by the community and has a knock-on impact on our work.
Destructive vandalism like we have seen means our time is taken cleaning up and organising repairs, which puts us under extra pressure to get the emergency food parcels packed and delivered to service users. It pulls our focus away from our core purpose.
Recently, after a window was smashed into the Food Bank and the warehouse was covered in glass, the staff and volunteers had to spend hours cleaning up shards and the detritus that had been thrown in afterwards. It took days to check through our trays of donated food, cleaning out the glass shards, time that could have been much better spent. This is not what our volunteers give up their time to do.
Sadly, some donations had to be disposed of as they had been contaminated with glass and were no longer safe to be sent out. These were items generously donated by individuals in Bassetlaw, given to us in good faith that they would be able do some good and help someone in their community. Instead thanks to the actions of a few they ended up in the bin.
Money is then spent on repairing or replacing items, and even more on safeguarding them from future vandalism. This takes away from the money we should be spending supporting Bassetlaw. Every penny spent on this is money we no longer have to spend on food to go in the emergency food parcels.
This is particularly concerning at the moment, when everyone is worried about making their budgets stretch and demand for our services is going up. We are getting as many requests currently as we were at the height of the pandemic.
As you can imagine working in a Food Bank can be emotionally challenging at the best of times, without having to face this kind of behaviour. It is incredibly frustrating and disappointing.
In general, the support shown to the Food Bank by the people of Bassetlaw is incredible. It is thanks to everyone that donates that we can offer seven-day emergency food parcels, with fresh produce and extras like toiletries or pet food. It is thanks to the support of our volunteers that the parcels get packed and delivered out across the whole of Bassetlaw. And it is thanks to our partner agencies in Bassetlaw that we can sign post individuals to additional support to help them back on their feet. Without this community we could not do what we do every day, and it is so sad that a small minorities poor actions are having such a negative impact.
We hope that by talking about these incidents and sharing how many ways it negatively affects the charity, and in turn the people in Bassetlaw we support, the word will spread and people will think again about how they behave towards local charities.