How we started
When the lockdown in March 23rd 2020, Danny Barnes our CEO, decided to quit his job and dedicate his time to helping those in need. Shop and Donate was created to fulfil this dream. Shop and Donate is an online food delivery service, where the customers contribution goes towards supporting food banks, key workers and helping vulnerable residents effected by COVID-19. This marked the unofficial start of Shop And Donate in April 2020.
The main focus of Shop And Donate has been helping the wider community and areas of the UK through Covid-19. Danny Barnes was forward-thinking about the impacts of this pandemic and strived to build an innovative, economically and environmentally sustainable community-based service to help those in need, regardless of background. This is done, via food packages, telephone befriending and hot meal deliveries. So far we have received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback on our services which has urged us to continue our work and aspire to be the No. 1 Community Online Shop.
- We want to help as many vulnerable people as we can by relieving suffering caused by the negative impact of the corona-virus pandemic, both in the short-term and the long term. We aim to do this by increasing the meals we can provide to the vulnerable but also offering emotional support.
- We want to become environmentally friendly and source all our products from local suppliers and remove all plastic from our packaging.
- We aim to increase our pool of volunteers in order to reach a larger audience of people needing our services.
- We want to raise enough funding in order to purchase a delivery van, fridge, cover our overheads and secure a long-term community base; and
- Within three years, we want to become sustainable.
In the long-term, Shop And Donate want to make our services as accessible as possible to everyone and anyone. In addition to this, we aspire to work more cohesively with both the community and local authorities to be able to: run all our services fluidly and reach a larger audience of vulnerable people.
A key vision of ours is to be able to set up Meals On Wheels as a restaurant, which functions both as a restaurant and as a community hub that donates hot food to those in need.
Our values that govern everything we do are:
- Community Cohesion
- Equality in diversity
RESPONSE TO COVID
Food banks across the UK, already working at maximum capacity, have struggled with food stocks as Covid-19 hit. Comparing the months of May 2019 and May 2020, independent food banks have seen a 177% increase in the number of emergency food parcels distributed.
With mass unemployment predicted on a scale not seen since the early nineties, there will be a greater rise in poverty with 670,000 additional people classed as destitute by the end of 2020, meaning they cannot afford essentials like housing, energy and food.
Our food banks delivers food to those who need it the most. Following the pandemic, the majority of people we deliver to are elderly people and low income families. Shopping can be difficult for the elderly, inducing anxiety and stress if carried out by themselves. Our foodbank relieves this stress as we deliver straight to their doorstep, ensuring we follow all COVID safety procedures when doing so.
With unemployment on the rise, workers’ salaries depleting, and increasing amounts of people on furlough, many are struggling to afford the basic necessities they previously could afford. We have recognised this and try to help those struggling, therefore, we also provide food for to single-parent families, unemployed, low-income families, and people with disabilities who may struggle to get to the shop.
Additionally, we have visited several hospitals over the months, delivery packages of food and flowers to boost morale, for busy NHS staff who may not have time to go to the shop.
We are ringing over 2650 elderly and vulnerable residents across the community. We provide them with help in case they need food and essentials supplies if they are isolated or if they have a health condition. We are also here to offer emotional support and want to help each other get through this difficult time.
We have 10-20 enthusiastic, friendly and hard-working people on our team, dedicated to providing the best possible service to those in need. We are constantly looking out for new volunteers and offer several opportunities within our organisation, including but not limited to; social media managing, marketing, finance and HR. We are giving people who may lack skills and experience the opportunity to work in a fast-paced office environment, learn important workplace skills such as organisation, confidence and communication, which will look great on their CV. Our volunteer opportunities can help combat the issues surrounding isolation by offering a chance to interact with others and help the wider community.