Paul Hay, the owner of Fish ’n’ Fritz, Weymouth’s award-winning Fish & Chip shop, has made last year’s pandemic food donation to Weymouth Foodbank an annual thing. The business has made another donation of 60 fruit and vegetable boxes.
The first donation came about at the height of the COVID lockdown when Paul discovered Weymouth Foodbank’s incredible work in the local community. Distributing over 50,000 meals annual to families across Weymouth from their three outlets Weymouth Baptist Church, Westham Methodist Church and St Francis, Littlemoor.
Since the start of the pandemic, Weymouth foodbank has seen the need for their services more than double, which is likely to continue to increase as the cost of living crisis worsens. They now run the operation from a central warehouse on the Granby Industrial Estate called ‘The Hub’, which supplies the three ‘Satellite’ outlets. The opening of ‘The Hub’ has allowed them to store and rotate the increased level of food donated in a safe and orderly way. It has also enabled them to take delivery of bulk buying from Morrisons Wholesale and local suppliers of eggs, cheese, fruit and vegetables. These costs are met by the financial donations they receive. The food they distribute is primarily tins and packets as this is easier for them to store and manage. However, ‘The Hub’ with its increased space has made it possible to install fridges and freezers. So, in addition to supplying customers with eggs and cheese, they now regularly supply customers with fresh fruit and vegetables.
Helen M tells us more about how Weymouth Foodbank operates “Demand for food has more than doubled over the last 2 years. Given the increase in size of operation in the last 2 years, we needed to find somewhere to store and distribute food to the satellites. We were fortunate to find a large warehouse space in Albany Road on the Granby Industrial Estate. All food donated by individuals and corporates is sent to the warehouse (known as the “hub”) for checking and storing. Food is supplied to the three satellites from here.”
Fish ’n’ Fritz works closely with organisations in the community, including ‘The Bus Shelter Dorset and The Lantern Trust, all part of the community ethos behind Fish ’n’ Fritz. For many years Paul has been promoting and accepting ‘Suspended Coffee & Meal’ from customers who want to do something for people who are less fortunate than themselves. This, over time, has equated to 1,000’s of hot drinks and meals. It was his work with these community groups that led to these donations to Weymouth Foodbank.
Paul Hay explains how his donation has become an annual thing “The work Fish ’n’ Fritz does in the community is very important to the team and me. Discovering the gap the Foodbank filled and how tirelessly Helen and her team work to help people to put food on their families table inspired me to make our fruit and veg box donation an annual thing. Now, more so than ever, with the ‘Cost Of Living Crisis’ affecting even more people, it’s important to step up and help where we can.”
Fish ’n’ Fritz fruit and vegetable boxes are aimed at families, couples and singles. They contain a wide selection of fruit and veg including: potatoes, carrots, broccoli, onions, parsnips, cabbages, swede, apples, bananas and grapes.
Helen M “Last February, Fish ’n’ Fritz helped us to increase the provision through their donation and this new donation of 60 fruit and vegetable boxes does the same again. This and other financial donations means we can now supply fresh fruit and veg each week to our customers, which they really appreciate and all of us here at Weymouth Foodbank would like to thank Fish ’n’ Fritz for their generous donation.
Helen M continues, “We rely totally on a team of around 40 volunteers as we have no paid staff. These come primarily from the churches in Weymouth. Many of our regular volunteers are in the 60+ age range and had to step back from involvement because of Covid. We were so encouraged to see other volunteers step up so that the work could continue uninterrupted. If anybody wants to make a financial donation contact firstname.lastname@example.org or to donate tinned food and packets at the Hub 20-22 Albany Road, Granby Industrial Estate DT4 9TH. Any way that you could do to help would be gratefully received.”
Weymouth Foodbank’s ethos is, “No member of our community should have to face going hungry.” Every week the Foodbank provides 3 days worth of nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people in need.
If you or someone you know needs help, you can gain access to the Foodbank through the agencies they work closely with, which include: Citizens Advice, First Point, The Lantern Trust, Christians Against Poverty, Refresh, Doctors surgeries and health visitors, social services, children’s services, and some local charities. These and many other agencies refer their clients to them to receive food parcels. Where appropriate, they refer their clients to other specialist agencies to receive the help they need to improve their situation.
If you want to donate, you can contact the Foodbank through their website www.weymouthfoodbank.co.uk email email@example.com or phone on 07531 167465. The Foodbank operates from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm Tuesday and Fridays at Weymouth Baptist Church, on The Esplanade, Mondays at Westham Methodist Church, Newstead Road and on Wednesdays from St Francis’ Church, Littlemoor. The hub is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 10.30 am to 12.30 pm.