Food sorting at Edgbaston stadium feed Birmingham

Bowled over by generosity during lockdown

From May to August 2020 #feedbirmingham collected over £56,000 worth of food, toiletries and baby supplies to bolster supplies at foodbanks and emergency food distributors across the City during the Covid 19 crisis.

Thrive Together Birmingham set up the #feedbirmingham initiative at the start of May with the support of Edgbaston Foundation, West Midlands Police, and a network of Food Champions from in and around Birmingham in order to help meet the food needs of the increased number of people accessing foodbanks.

Fred Rattley, CEO of Thrive Birmingham, said: “I was bowled over by the tremendous response we had and would like to thank every single one of our Food Champions who collected food from their neighbours to donate to those most in need. I would also like to thank the volunteers from Warwickshire Country Cricket Club and the West Midlands Police who helped collect, sort, and distribute donations.

“Although out collections have come to an end for now, we are ready to reignite this community led initiative to help those in need when they need it most.”

Collections stopped at the end of July as many volunteers returned to their day jobs, but the network of Food Champions have been encouraged to continue collecting donations from their neighbours and delivering them directly to their local foodbanks.

Children getting involved in feed Birmingham

In May, June and July Food Champions collected over 5,300 bags of food for foodbanks and other food distribution organisations which helped over 800,000 people over that period. Food banks have seen a doubling in people accessing their services since the start of the COVID19 pandemic but the support they were getting was not evenly spread. Every week Thrive Together Birmingham contacted food providers all over Birmingham to see where there was the greatest need for supplies and the food was delivered to them by volunteers.

Edgbaston Stadium donated its Exhibition Hall to be used as a central food storage and distribution centre, where all collections were delivered to before being repackaged and sent on to local food banks and community groups.

Ravi Masih, Head of Community Engagement at Warwickshire County Cricket Club and Lead of the Edgbaston Foundation, said: “More than 22 Club staff joined together with some members of the Warwickshire playing squad on our Tuesday repackaging and Friday sorting and storage volunteer shifts.

“Whilst it was a small part to play in the bigger picture of the COVID-19 outbreak, we were thrilled that our community response could lend a helping hand, with more than 18 tonnes of food sorted and repackaged for those in need.”