“It’s harder every year”: Lincoln Community Larder marks 30th anniversary

Lincoln Community Larder is marking 30 years of helping people in need in the city this August.

We spoke to some of the organisation’s longest serving volunteers about their experiences finding food for those in need.

They told us demand for the service increases significantly ever year, making it harder and harder to keep the shelves stocked.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

To celebrate the milestone, the larder is welcoming donations from 30p to £30 to help pay for food parcels.

As donations are received, they will be ‘filling up’ the empty bags on the homepage of the website.

Dawn Nightingale, a trustee and coordinator with over seven years experience, told The Lincolnite that demand has been growing over the years.

“When we saw that our friends at the Lincoln Food Bank could close we didn’t know how we would be able to cope. We both need to be open.

“Just this week we have spent over £1,000 on food. That’s just not sustainable over a long period of time but we seem to be spending more and more each week.

“Each year we find ourselves on the brink. The larder has a back up fund that we could fall back on and we keep coming close but once that’s gone we could have to close.”

£30 pays for two food parcels which feeds two adults for three days. However, the larder warned that they are quite low on basic food supplies at the moment.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

The larder is completely volunteer run, and has been ever since it opened on August 18, 1989.

It was launched by Mrs Mary Eckmyre, who became aware of the need for basic food, available at short notice, for people in crisis.

Today, the Larder gives out around 10,700 food parcels annually and last year it served a total of 3,562 people, which breaks down to 2,555 adults and 1,007 children.

The Larder has over 35 volunteers to help deliver a dedicated service to people in need.

Joan Bennett is one of the longest serving volunteers with 11 years under her belt. She told The Lincolnite: “I’m more concerned that people will depend on us completely.

“It’s hard to say that we’re celebrating 30 years when we only exist to feed people in desparate need. I fear that something needs to change dramatically.

“The government relies on places like us. They could do something to help but the government just says that people can always go to food banks. It’s not right.”

This includes those who help out at the three food distribution sites, the trustees and of course those in churches, schools at harvest festival time, local organisations and others who regularly collect and bring in donations.

Freda Pyper has volunteered at the larder for 14 years. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

For small food donations, people can drop them off at the Rosemary Lane site on Tuesday or Friday afternoon, between 1.30pm and 3pm, if it’s a large food donation please e-mail [email protected]

Cash donations can be made online at Local Giving, Just Giving and Virgin Money Giving and the charity is also registered for Gift Aid so this can be claimed for personal donations from UK Taxpayers providing an address.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Dawn packing up a food parcel. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

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