Members of the Rotary Club of Blackwood have been doing their bit to help during the coronavirus pandemic.
Members have been heading to supermarkets and buying food to donate to Rhymney Valley Food Bank.
In total, the club has bought more than 900kg of food – which is more than the weight of a bison.
Club member Trevor Morgan said: “Throughout the community we have seen some wonderful acts of support, kindness and generosity from individuals and organisations in these very difficult times.
“The demands on the food banks have been immense and will continue to be so in the future. Many have helped out with financial support and foodstuffs to enable the food banks to remain open and provide the needy with the basic necessities.
“Food banks are generally run by volunteer groups and are under great pressure and continue to need our help.
“It was this reason that the Rotary Club of Blackwood decided to step in and help out with support for the Rhymney Valley Food Bank, that distributes to a wide area of our community.”
Mr Morgan explained that the club paid for the food with the money they would have spent on events that were cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Mr Morgan added: “Blackwood Rotary meet on a weekly basis and share a meal together. With the lockdown in place, we have been unable to do so.
“It was decided that we would put the meal cost into providing help for others and members were sent out shopping for the items considered desperate to relieve the pressures on the food bank and enable supply to the needy.”
Mr Morgan said the “task was great” and that many members of the club have been unable to go out due to the pandemic.
However, four volunteers from the club – Barry Jones, Ian Johnston, Janet Johnston and club president Howard Patchell – were able to get together, fully-kitted in protective equipment, to do two big shops at the Asda store in Blackwood.
The volunteers were advised as to which food was needed by the food bank by Mr Morgan.
The food was then delivered to St Peter’s Church in Aberbargoed.
Mr Johnston, who is a former police and crime commissioner for Gwent, said: “We received excellent assistance from Asda management and staff which made things a little easier.
“I feel proud to be a member of our club helping others less fortunate.”
Rev Leah Philbrick of Rhymney Valley Food Bank said demand for the food bank more than doubled in April.
Rev Philbrick said: “With increased demand we have been relying on the support of our community and organisations to increase donations of food.
We have been so grateful for the response from people and organisations like Blackwood Rotary who have responded to that need and helped us to bring in over four metric tons of food in April – most of which has already been distributed from Fochriw to Caerphilly and all places in between.
“With fantastic support from Caerphilly County Borough Council, local food banks have been able to continue to provide food for families and individuals in a time of crisis.
“We want to say a special thank you to all our supporters and those of you placing food in the donation bins at Morrisons in Bargoed and Tesco in Ystrad Mynach.
“Also deserving special mention are Phillipstown Forever Community Group, Pen yr Oer Wind Farm Community Fund, Tesco Covid Response, Western Power Community Fund, Welsh Water, The New Tredegar Partnership, Blackwood Cricket Club and the Upper Islwyn Ministry Area and JP Rodowicz.”
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