Friday, 30 October 2015

Cake with a clear conscience

Everybody needs cake, but some in York are short of everyday food. Joanne Casey explains how Information Services have managed to balance these two facts.

On the last Friday of every month, staff from the Library, IT Services, and the Archives hold a Cake Day to raise money for charity. Any member of staff can nominate a cause to support, volunteers bake cakes, and equally selfless volunteers donate money to eat them. In the past, we've supported local, national, and international charities including Plan's Because I Am A Girl campaign, the Poppy Road Poppy Project, Macmillan, St Leonard's Hospice, and the Nepal Earthquake Appeal.

A fine selection of cake
This time, we're supporting the York Foodbank, run by the Trussell Trust, and in a bit of a twist, we've encouraged people to bring along donations of food rather than (or as well as!) cash. The Foodbank provide lists of the items that they currently need to stock up on to fill food parcels for families and individuals in crisis; at this time of year, they also ask people to donate items with Christmas in mind, so our collection boxes contain not just tinned food, tea, coffee, UHT milk, and cereals, but also biscuits, snacks, selection boxes, chocolate advent calendars - things that will make the festive season a little bit brighter for people who are struggling.

Sarah Peace, who suggested this month's charity explained why she chose this cause:
"I chose to nominate York Foodbank for our October cake day as it's a charity that we may all need to turn to at some point in our lives.
The food bank helps people struggling with insecure work, low pay and high living costs. Families and individuals are going hungry and skipping meals in our country to make ends meet. 
I hope that raising money and donating food in the run up to Christmas may make the difference to families in York."
One of our four collection boxes
The Trussell Trust report that in 2014/15, the food banks they operate gave out 1,084,064 emergency three-day parcels of food. They also work with food bank users, to listen to their concerns and point them to other sources of help: their developing More Than Food initiative partners with other advisory agencies to provide support with managing money, learning to cook and eat well, developing job skills, and making benefit claims.

There are many stories of people who have benefited from the intervention of a food bank when they're struggling:
"We resorted to borrowing a tin of soup from next door to feed our 18 month old daughter. The problems came when my partner got ill and received no sick pay. It was snowing and we were struggling to afford food and heating. In the end the cupboards were bare. I don't know what we would have done without the foodbank." 
We're collecting donations of non-perishable food until Tuesday 3 November, so if you'd like to join us, we'd be happy to have your donation - just drop it off at the Library or IT Services. The Foodbank have asked us to say that, while they're grateful for any and all gifts, they do have a lot of beans at the moment!


By the time our collection ended earlier this week, we'd collected vast quantities of food - so much that we had to use the department van to deliver it to York FoodBank. A plan to list how much food we'd collected fell by the wayside as we just didn't have enough space to get it all out of the boxes, but the collection included pasta and sauce, tinned meat, coffee, tea, sugar, soup, cereals, herbs and spices, tinned fruit and puddings, chocolate advent calendars and selection boxes, biscuits, UHT milk, and Christmas puddings and cake. In addition to that, we collected £121 in cash.

The full haul, loaded up and ready to be delivered.

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1 comment:

  1. A delicious way to raise money and of course charity cakes are calorie free, especially on Fridays


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