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20,000 food and toiletries have now been donated to the Woodley Food Bank via drop boxes set up at Woodley’s Covid 19 Response group food drive co-ordinator’s house, since the Covid 19 pandemic started in March.
Ronnie Goodberry, also a key administrator of the group, started collecting donations on 27 March. “When I first started coordinating the donations, I wasn’t aware of the demand upon the food banks and other charities which issue parcels to vulnerable person within the Woodley area. At times, our living room was like a warehouse with a mass of baskets and carrier bags full with tinned items, toiletries, plus other food item; it was actually quite overwhelming at times.”
“We’ve managed to donate a large number of mini toiletries to the nursing welfare charity at the Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) and have received bikes, scooters, books, DVDs, games, soft toys and puzzles all donated for those in need.”
Woodley Town Mayor, Cllr Kay Gilder was delighted to be able to donate the 20,000th food item to the scheme, despite being recommended to self- isolate. “I was delighted to be asked for my donation to be the 20,000 given to this wonderful group of people who decided to start this initiative at the start of the lockdown. Although I myself am self-isolating I felt honoured to be asked to help these wonderful people, again it shows what a superb community Woodley is.”
Speaking of the Mayor providing the 20,000 item, Ronnie said: “the Mayor congratulated us for our efforts and was overwhelmed by the generosity shown by Woodley’s residents at this time of crisis. We asked the Mayor to help our group and 1400 members to celebrate the generous donations deposited at the drop boxes outside my house.”
The group is also particularly proud of how it has responded to individual needs and, often, in record time. “We managed to provide one family in isolation with food parcels that were sourced and delivered within two hours of the call going out. We also received donations including new toys, a cake, banners and balloons for a nine-year-old’s birthday as his family were in isolation, alongside food parcels and essentials,” said Ronnie.
Woodley Council Leader Cllr Keith Baker is also a member of the Woodley Covid 19 Response Group. Speaking about the group and its milestone donation, Keith said: “During the weeks, and now months, Woodley residents have come together as a community, demonstrating what a loving and caring group of individuals they all are. The true character of a town only becomes visible when a serious incident occurs and the Covid 19 virus is right up there at the top of the pile. Residents have come together in a remarkable way that most of us have never experienced before. The passion to protect the vulnerable seen by residents working together has been exceptional. Whether it is donating food, collecting prescriptions, going shopping, mini toiletries delivered to RBH, emergency deliveries, donating non-food items or even dismantling a bed and putting up its replacement residents have all played a magnificent part in proving what a wonderful town Woodley is.”
Donations continue to be needed, not just to the Woodley Food Bank through Ronnie’s collection boxes but also at other collection points around Woodley.
“I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all residents who have donated, helped, and contributed to keep everyone safe and in food and essentials during the Covid 19 pandemic and thank you for your continued support,” added Mayor Kay.