A Wholesome Helping Hand From Sevenoaks Larder
We are all hopeful for a more eventful summer, one where we can enjoy BBQ’s with loved ones and reconnect with close friends at our favourite restaurants. However, even when lockdown does finally lift, this is a luxury that many residents of Sevenoaks understand is an unattainable possibility. Instead they are hopeful for fresh produce in their fridge, and essentials stocked in their cupboards in order to put simple, healthy meals on the table to feed their families.
This economic gap within the Sevenoaks community is one that local resident Claire Richie decided to address. As the second charity that Sevenoaks Community are proud to support this year, Sevenoaks Larder carries out much admirable work in helping residents who are struggling to pay for their weekly food shop. As founder of this fantastic charity, Claire describes what fuelled her desire to suppress the battle faced by many underprivileged households:
‘“ I set it up because I could see that, in our community, there were people who were struggling to afford food and it only seemed right that those in our community who could afford to help them out should do something about it, rather than let people continue to struggle when there was no need.
It was a problem, and I’m a problem-solver, simple as that really, so I just tried to match one with the other! “
Claire’s inspiring efforts to soften the struggle of those trying to stay afloat, prompted her initial charitable service ‘Lockdown Larder’ during the first lockdown back in March 2020. However, with the equally tremendous efforts of the charity ‘Care for our Community’ which also provided a food bank service to those needing extra support to feed their loved ones, it only seemed right for these two charities to join forces in order to assist families on an even bigger scale. This gave way to Sevenoaks Larder.
With an efficient team of 150 noble volunteers, Lockdown Larder’s main principle is to deliver a food support service that provides fresh food and choice, given with kindness and compassion. This service is truly a pillar of hope for many families, especially now more than ever where the pandemic has robbed many households of a stable income.
Whether poverty is a product of a family’s change of circumstances, or an accustomed lifestyle, sadly many individuals often feel an element of shame or embarrassment at the prospect of having to use a food bank. Even more so there is the fear of being seen there. However, Claire and her brilliant team ensure that a high level of discretion and confidentiality is upheld. This is achieved by a delivery service which is made possible through fund-raising. Donations means that Sevenoaks Larder can provide regular fresh food shops for their clients right to their door.
Preserving self respect and dignity is as vital a component to this charity as providing sufficient, regular food supplies is. At a time when people are facing a low ebb in their lives, Sevenoaks Larder allows them to retain control and have freedom of choice in what they feed their family. This choice is partly possible due to the very generous Ian Lettington who kindly provided his Church premises at Mill Lane as storage for the excess stock from supermarkets, and food donations from individuals and businesses. With the luxury of space to store items, the charity’s volunteers are able to operate an efficient system in which they pick, pack and deliver each client’s chosen items direct to their door step. From an abundant choice of meat, fruit, veg and dry items, Sevenoaks Larder’s commendable efforts not only contributes to putting a wholesome meal on struggling family’s tables, but also feeds hope into their future knowing that a blanket of support is there when they need it most.
Hopeful too is the dedicated team behind Sevenoaks Larder who anticipate future fund raising events after lockdown ends. With pockets of deprivation in the Sevenoaks area presenting a persistent problem, this charity aspires to continue their efforts in raising social awareness to join together the unbalance of need and excess. In doing so, Sevenoaks Larder is so much more than a food bank. It provides an outlet to those who want to help, bringing the community even closer in these ever changing times.
If you wish to support this local charities heroic efforts, then more details, including how to donate money or food, how to access their help, or how to volunteer with them, all can be found on their website www.sevenoakslarder.co.uk