Coventry Foodbank workers are raising funds on a 34km walk across the city

image caption, Dee Ward (centre) said members of the public were welcome to join part or all of the walk or “give us a wave”

  • Author, Clare Lissaman
  • Role, BBC News, West Midlands

Staff and volunteers who operate 15 food banks walk between sites to raise money and awareness of a drop in donations.

Dee Ward, project manager at Coventry Foodbank, said members of the public were welcome to join Canon foodbank founder Gavin Kibble on the 21-mile (34km) route on Monday.

Ms Ward said she would be among staff dressed as a bean tray, milk carton and cake as they walked.

“Give us a wave, you won’t miss us,” Ms Ward said, adding that they particularly wanted to raise awareness as “donations have dropped dramatically since Christmas”.

Ms Ward believed the fall resulted from many people having less money.

“Disposable income has gone down and the longer it goes on, the more difficult it is for people,” she said.

The charity’s Hugh McNeil added: “Everyone has been affected by the cost of living crisis.

“Donations have fallen as people have to make the decision whether to contribute food or keep it for themselves.”

Use of reserves

He said the charity currently had “enough food for people” but was using some of its stock which staff wanted to build up again before the busy summer period.

The summer demand was partly driven by some families needing extra help when children were not getting free meals at school, he said.

The charity has seen demand for its benches rise over the past two years and said 29,000 people in Coventry were using one in 2023.

He was hoping people would join his Foodbankathon, now in its second year, by walking or running the route or part of it.

Canon Kibble said he expected to take nine hours to complete the challenge, which starts at Coventry’s westernmost food bank at St Stephen’s Church, Canley, at 09:00 BST.

It ends at St Catherine’s Church in Stoke Aldermoor.

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