THE GRUB Club has helped hundreds of households through the pandemic — and now they need help finding a new home.
The Norreys-based food hub, which launched last summer to help families entitled to free school meals, extended its support to anyone hit badly by the crisis.
Operating out of Norreys Church, the club has distributed more than 1,250 food parcels to residents over the past 16 weeks using donations from Reading wholesaler Brakes, Wokingham’s COOK, as well as supermarkets Lidl, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer, and Morrisons.
And it has been a team effort thanks to help from the Wokingham Foodbank and Community Hub.
Member and co-ordinator of the Grub Club, Claire Revie said: “The club has taken on a whole new mission over these last few months.
“The service we’ve been offering is completely different to our original summer club but we wanted to keep the same name as both services share the same objective- to help people when they need it most.
“We have hugely benefited from the use of the church as it allows our regular hub users to visit us easily and places us in the heart of the community we are helping.
“Although some areas of life are returning to normal, there are still a lot of people who are still furloughed or have been made redundant and will still need our help.
“We want to keep the club going as long as we can.”
As Government restrictions on social distancing ease, church members are planning their return to worship.
And this means the Grub Club will need to relocate if it is to continue helping families in Wokingham.
Ms Revie said: “We’re open to any suggestions at the moment. Our summer project starts at the end of this month so we need to find a new venue by then.
“Ideally, we’d love to stay located in Norreys so we are close to the people we currently help.
“A kitchen area is a bonus as we need to keep some of the food supplies refrigerated and frozen.
“A central location would be amazing. If we could have a building large enough to share with the Foodbank and other groups with the same ethos it could become a little support hub of its own.”
The volunteer added: “Unfortunately we don’t have a budget to spend but we can look into grants to cover costs if needed.”
One resident who was benefited from the Club during the pandemic said: “The team at the food hub have been amazing.
“Between my husband being furloughed, and a loss of my self-employed income, and trying to shield two asthmatics as much as possible, the Grub Club has meant we have eaten better than in many weeks before Covid-19.
“No judgements or pity, just great food, when we were unsure how long our money would last or where some of the next meals might come from. A heartfelt thanks.”
And as well as feeding families, the Club gives residents the chance to reduce food waste on a local level.
Claire said: “We are aware that food waste has increased over the lockdown period and there are high penalties for councils, food suppliers and stores if they don’t meet their waste targets.
“It would be great, if, as a town we could tackle this together and address the hunger issue as well as that concerning food waste.
“One day we’d love to transform the Grub Club into a long term food market-styled venue with a zero waste aspect to it. The two concepts would go really well together.”
For more information, to volunteer for the Club, or suggest a new venue contact Claire Revie at firstname.lastname@example.org.