Plea for food bank donations from Exmouth’s Specsavers branch

Specsavers colleagues Tony Sheehan and Dani Cudd

Specsavers colleagues Tony Sheehan and Dani Cudd - Credit: Specsavers

Staff at Exmouth’s Specsavers branch have been donating items for the town’s food bank and are now calling on members of the public to support their campaign. 

All donations will go to the Exmouth Food Bank, which was set up 10 years ago by a group of local churches. Its aim is to provide free emergency food help to individuals and families in crisis. 

Kim Swinbourne, dispensing optician at Specsavers Exmouth, said: ‘The Exmouth Food Bank is a wonderful charity doing amazing work, and we felt that we had to help them now that there are so many people struggling. 

‘People are in crisis because of the cost-of-living situation and they’re having to choose between whether to buy food now or be able to heat their home later in the year. Also, with schools having broken up, there are families who maybe don’t get benefits but still struggle to feed their children during the holidays. 

‘We’ve done this sort of collection before and have always had a brilliant response from the people of Exmouth, filling a test room with donations. They’re very generous and we’re so grateful to them.’ 

Currently, the Food Bank provides food to support more than 125 people per week. Last year the Exmouth Food Bank supplied 2,177 food parcels, feeding 4,405 people. Recent levels of demand for food parcels are more than double the annual averages for 2014-2020. This rise has in part been caused by the effects of Covid-19, but increasingly by the rising cost of food, fuel and utility bills. 

Ian Margeson, chairman of the Exmouth Food Bank, added: ‘We are so grateful to Specsavers Exmouth and members of the public who are supporting this collection. It really will help a lot of local people. 

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‘In July there was a 15 per cent increase in take-up of our services from families, compared to June. Many of these families are new to us, have three or more children and, due to the cost of living, are struggling to make ends meet. 

‘Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go the way we all plan and, for whatever reason, some people find themselves without the money to buy food.  

“We are here to help and can provide food supplies to those who live in Exmouth or the surrounding areas, including Lympstone, Woodbury and Budleigh Salterton.’ 

Exmouth Specsavers is accepting pasta, rice, tinned food, coffee, tea and other long-life food items as part of the collection, which runs until Monday, August 15. All items donated will be distributed to people in and around Exmouth.