BEFA continued to supply food to charities caring for homeless and vulnerable people throughout 2022 particularly to emergency shelters operating in times of severe weather. In 2023 we have been supplying food in support various initiatives, including the provision of warm spaces in East Anglia.

Christmas and Winter food distribution.

The planning for the Christmas distribution began in September with the annual fundraising appeal being launched on 1 October.

Also in September, BEFA volunteers launched the Sugar for Shelters campaign and over 50 Norfolk and Suffolk schools collected sugar for charity kitchens, together with a wide variety of other donations ranging from hot drinks to warm clothing.

It was noticeable that the number of projects contacting BEFA for the first time was the highest for several years. At the same time, shortages of some items of produce, including turkey, eggs and onions were a particular challenge.

The twin distributions took place at Roudham Farm, East Harling and Openshaw, Manchester in the week beginning 19 December.

The volunteers at Roudham packed 163 pallets of food which was collected by local charities or dispatched to sub-distributions in Boston, Kings Lynn and Swafield.

BEFA supplied food and other support to 229 organisations, with 161 being in the South of England. 81 were in Norfolk and thirty nine in Suffolk. According to the returns from the charities they are caring for 16,900 people.

Of the organisations supplied, 38 were women’s refuges who are caring 733 women and 908 children.

BEFA supplied the ingredients for 19,900 Christmas meals, together with food to many tens of thousands of other winter meals.

The number of charities supplied was higher than normal because we had sufficient food to provide a second wave of donations to organisations in Ashford, Brighton, Cardiff, Didcot, Hull, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Nottingham, Plymouth, Leicester, Preston, and Southampton. We were also able to supply additional projects in London and Manchester.

Film crews from the BBC and ITV visited the Roudham distribution and radio coverage was given on BBC Radio Norfolk and BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.