Residents in Somerset can drop in at a food bank for assistance. Not-for profit centres in the county and local districts assist individuals or families that are hungry or in poverty, provide meals to the homeless, and can offer eligible people a free, emergency food parcel.
Several agencies work with Mustard Seed or are part of the Trussell Trust network, and the Salvation Army also has sites in Somerset. There are also volunteers at church based foodbanks that may have free non-perishable grocery items or other items, such as clothing or even items such as furniture. The amount of assistance from the centres is limited, but it can help with a number of needs.
Main centers for food assistance
The locations below aim to help those living on a low income or in poverty. The hours of each site are limited, so people with a voucher can call a centre for hours of distribution or check with the Somerset council or CAB office.
Wellington United Reformed Church has volunteers that collect food from donation points in Somerset or nearby Bath. They package the items into a parcel that is then passed out to residents facing a crisis. The church will also have meals for the homeless, a blanket for them to use at night, or tea served with their food. Counselling from social workers will also refer the client to shelter or other resources in Somerset. Call 07761 624216, or drop in at the site on Fore Street in Wellington.
Residents of Taunton can stop by the Food Bank at Belvedere Trading Estate, Albemarle Road, Taunton, TA1 1BJ. The not-for-profit will provide assistance across the district, and free food, groceries, meals, and more is served. Telephone is 07761 624 216.
The CHARD Lord’s Larder provides food parcels for local residents.A referral is needed to use this centre which can be obtained from a front line care worker. They provide food parcels for singles and families. The referring agencies will also help with finding financial aid, housing and government benefits. The collection point is at the Forefront Community Centre, 42 Fore Street, Chard, Somerset TA20 1QH. Contact them through their web site ‘lordlarder.chardct.org.uk’.
Churches Together in Somerton created the Mustard Seed Foodbank. Donations come from shops and restaurants in Somerset. Most of the clients are hungry, have no food and many people assisted are children. The churches offer a bag of groceries or other nutritional assistance from the charity. Address is St Cleers Chapel, Polham Lane, Somerton, Somerset TA11 6SP.
Citizen’s Advice Bureau refers people to the Glastonbury Food bank as well, if they have a local connection. Proof of income is needed as well as details on the number of people in the household. The food bank has items for those with special dietary requirements and that are facing hunger. For elegible applicants, there is up to a three day support of free food is available. Email them at [email protected], or ring 07980 458600.
While the Salvation Army has multiple locations in Somerset, there is one main foodbank. The address is The Old Magistrates Court; 21 Commercial Road; Shepton Mallet, Somerset; BA4 5BU, telephone 01749 343 168.
The charity provides food on Wednesday’s only. Applicants need to get a referral from the council or CAB first and be out of options before using this service. The help from the Salvation Army is a last resort.
All Saints Church can deliver meals or food to the elderly or those with a physical disability. Residents need to call 01963 351615 for hours or more information on the application process. All resources from the church are limited, and volunteers are needed to deliver the parcel as well. The Cary Cupboard, Church Street, Castle Cary, BA7 7EJ.
The county welfare scheme can provide assistance in an emergency. The Somerset council may provide vouchers for a parcel of food, a hot meal and other help to families in poverty. Any food from this programme is a last resort, and applicants need to explore other services before applying for this government benefit. More on the Somerset Local Assistance Scheme.
The council in North Somerset can also offer food and other help from their Welfare Provision Scheme, which is for people local to that district. The emergency assistance provided can be a box of groceries and other basic needs. Even if the resident is not given an award, the team at the council will still try to signpost the family to a foodbank or another programme. All of this and more is part of the North Somerset Welfare Scheme, which is for addressing a crisis.
West Somerset Food Cupboard provides fruits, pudding, and more types of free food. Many of the clients have lack of money management skills, lost their employment, have had a reduction in benefits, or wage freezes, so referrals are provided too to help these people gain independent living.
They partner with churches across the county, including in Minehead, Carhampton, Porlock, Exford, and other districts. Some of the churches that partner with the Food Cupboard are Baptist Church, St Stanislaus Catholic Church, St John the Baptist, Church of the Sacred Heart, and Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary. There are several others as well.