Donating to West Berks Foodbank brings Thatcham street sense of community
Residents of Burns Walk have been adding a few more items into their shopping carts recently, in aid of West Berks Foodbank.
Around 18 households on the Thatcham street got together to collect food for those less fortunate – something that one resident has said brought them all closer over lockdown.
Mark Palmer-Broughton has been storing the collections on his dining room table, which he said became almost full.
He said: “It all started when one person said look if anyone’s isolating during lockdown or gets Covid and you need anything from the shop we can get you bread or milk.
“It escalated from there and we have become a close community. Our Christmas lights this year were absolutely amazing.”
The community spirit grew over the lockdown and Christmas period but Mr Palmer-Broughton said the need for charity doesn’t stop there.
“You work all year and you work hard. You see stories on the TV of Covid then you see the stories of the homeless people that are struggling over the festive period," he said.
“It’s not just the festive period it’s winter and all year round really, and it just tugged at my heart strings and I thought you know what I’ll put it out there and see what we get.”
Expectations were exceeded when he saw that the community generosity more than doubled since they last donated to the food bank.
“The first time, last year, it was really good what everyone did but this year they trebled what they donated last year," he added.
Despite becoming a close knit community, they have had to adhere to social distancing when interacting - even for a royal street party.
“During the first lockdown we had a garden party for the Queen, a big celebration and we literally had socially distanced garden parties,” he said.
When collecting donations, Mr Palmer-Broughton left a box outside his home and asked people to deposit their donations, small or large.
He said: “My wife did our online shopping this week and she just put ten extra items on there, it doesn’t have to be a lot.
“Just 35p packs of pasta and things like that and that will go a long way for some families.
“You’re not going to notice the extra money in your shopping; for someone else it will make a massive difference.”
He added: “Give it a try, the feeling you get once you have done it is a sense of real satisfaction that you are helping families that are less fortunate than yourself.”