During autumn last year, we were looking at our food budget – racking our brains as to how we were going to sustain the rise in demand for our Food Clubs. At the height of lockdown, our food costs rose from £4,000 a month to £8,000 a week – combining on-site visits with home deliveries across Manchester and Salford.
The source of our ambient food comes from many different avenues, including items we purchase from supermarket suppliers and food redistribution organisations such as FareShare. A percentage also comes from donations, through the generosity of community groups, local businesses, churches, schools and individuals. Every £1 we can save in-kind through donations can be used where it’s otherwise needed in the charity.
“Your generosity has meant that we were able to support people through over 2,700 Food Club visits between the 10th November and Christmas Eve” – Rosie (Mustard Tree Corporate Partnerships Manager).
That could be helping to pay someone’s rent, preventing them from being evicted, purchasing a new school uniform for a girl who had theirs stolen (Little Hulton, 2019), or travel expenses to make Mustard Tree more accessible to our clients.
After a frank conversation about where the budget was heading, we decided to focus our 2020 Christmas ‘ask’ around food. Coined by our Food Manager Chris – ‘Fill a Crate for Christmas’ was born.
“We were initially anxious about the response we’d get, as we knew many offices and centres were closed – not to mention they had their own challenges to think about”, says Chris. “But after a couple of conversations with our partners, we realised that there were plenty of people out there who wanted to help”.
None more than Adrian Ellis, who used his influence as Chair of the Manchester Hoteliers Association to rally support from many of the city’s hotels.
“The MHA has always supported the fantastic work that Mustard Tree does in fighting food poverty across the city of Manchester. The Fill a Crate for Christmas campaign feels more important than ever before, and we are very happy to see so many of our hotels supporting such a vital cause”. Says Adrian, General Manager at the Lowry Hotel.
Our Corporate Partnership Manager Rosie led the Fill a Crate for Christmas campaign, and was incredibly thankful for everyone’s efforts:
“A massive thank you to everyone who participated in Mustard Tree’s ‘Fill a Crate for Christmas’ campaign. It was wonderful to see so many organisations and communities come together and support us. Your generosity has meant that we were able to support people through over 2,700 Food Club visits between the 10th November and Christmas Eve”.
— Mustard Tree (@MustardTreeMCR) November 10, 2020
Such was the success of the campaign that we were also able to give people an extra five items of food each over the Christmas period.
Due to the national lockdown we are once again being asked to not leave the house, unless absolutely essential. With this in mind we have restarted our food distribution service. It is because of your donations that Mustard Tree is able to offer home deliveries. The volume of donations received means we can reach more people in need across Manchester and Salford.
“The MHA has always supported the fantastic work that Mustard Tree does in fighting food poverty across the city of Manchester. The Christmas Crate Campaign feels more important than ever before, and we are very happy to see so many of our hotels supporting such a vital cause” – Adrian Ellis (GM Lowry Hotel).
Many of you have reached out, wanting to know how you can continue support, and we have been touched by the enthusiasm for the next campaign.
“We want to try and put smiles on kids’ faces, who’ve had such as tough year to contend with – so we’re asking for Easter eggs which we can give out in our Community Shops!”
Mustard Tree remains open as an essential service for food, emergency housing vouchers and 121 support. We are currently accepting warm/winter/waterproof clothing and footwear donations. If you would like to donate furniture and/or white goods, please submit a donation enquiry form or email firstname.lastname@example.org, along with images of the items, your contact details and full address.
Please call 0161 228 7331 to check the latest requirements, or email email@example.com.