Food Supplies - Parish Larder

We support the Food Bank run from St Richard's Church Seacroft

The Story Continued...

2nd January 2023. 

Text message from Lis Bowes at the Parish Larder: Wishing you all a Peaceful and Healthy New Year. 729 people fed in the 3 openings in December. Approx 125 extra bags of Christmas food given out to families. Approx 100 people enjoyed Christmas lunch at the Cafe. Approx 1030 children supported by Toy distribution with presents. 

So nothing changes - we are short of Tea Bags and, UHT semi-skimmed milk! Here we go again! 

20th December 2022.

Info on last week:Fed 250 people. Toy distribution: 1030 Toys given out. Last week a lady came in, who was only going to have a Kettle to cook with over the Christmas period. 

This week, I was promoted to helper on the additional items, so no idea of the numbers. However, best guess would be it was busier this week than last. They ran a short Carol service prior to the Food Bank opening.
Going to have a lie down.

Neale we have to thank you for such Rotary "Service above Self" to this Initiative.

15th November 2022

Treasurer Neale reports: Attended St. Richards on Tuesday, quiet due probably to heavy rain. Noticeable that there were several employed people attending. Again Neale talked with Lis and asked if they needed a top-up with our financial support. She still says they are OK. President Brendan attended and brought with him the Club's donation of Christmas Chocolates for the children. Lis asked if we would consider purchasing 100 Christmas Crackers - we agreed, and President Brendan will get them next week.

6th September 2022

Rotarian Neale attended St. Richards Parish Larder, Tues 6th Sept 2022.They had suffered a flood over the weekend from a burst in the Hot Water Boiler in the crypt kitchen. They had managed to dry out carpets etc. Repair & replacement going to cost about £750.

Neale reports: "So, no water in Crypt on 6th and we had to use flasks. Very busy day with many new clients. If new clients qualify for Trussell Trust, we now have to send them over the road to LS14 Cafe to get a reference number!

I will get a breakdown of the ratio of Larder to Trussell Trust numbers when I get back from holidays. I am going to represent St. Richards on a course tomorrow (7th Sept.) run by “Money Buddies” a Leeds based debt counselling charity, who are going to take a table during our opening hours next week, to offer advice etc to the customers".

September 2022 The Parish Larder/FoodBank continues to be busy, with new faces appearing on a Tuesday when food is dispensed. The team is working hard to source sufficient wholesome food and is just about meeting demand. Efforts are being made to have a team of advisors to help the clients, for example experiencing increasing financial problems. Below is a picture of the Team at St Richards with President Brendan, Past President Martyn, and Treasurer Neale (on the right) during a recent visit to the centre.

June 2022 Report from Rtn Neale Lucas,(who volunteers at the Church each week): "An update following my shift. Lis (manager) gave me figures for June: 694 people were fed".
Information from the Team Meeting:- While Dave still collects food from Tesco Mon pm and goes searching on Tues am, stocks are now an issue. What is now happening is that the entire Parish Larder Stock is being cleaned out each week. They are buying key items each week - UHT milk is becoming a big issue. Local supermarkets are restricting the number of purchases of some items. 
They are researching the idea of having experts on pertinent subjects to be available in the hall to advise while customers are waiting. 

The Parish Larder/FoodBank continues to be busy, with new faces appearing on a Tuesday when food is dispensed. The team is working hard to source sufficient wholesome food and is just about meeting demand. Efforts are being made to have a team of advisors to help the clients, for example experiencing increasin financial problems. Below is a picture of the Team at St Richards with President Brendan, Past President Martyn, and Treasurer Neale (on the right) juring a recent visit.

Good relationship with LS14 Cafe on the parade of shops opposite the church - collected about 15 tins of spaghetti hoops from them yesterday morning. Neale.

May 2022. Some Statistics from the Administrator: In 2021, 4940 individuals were given food. To end of April 2022, 2632 people were fed - an increase of approx. 50% c.f. the first 4 months of 2021.
(The Trussel Trust gives advice on how to obtain help form various agencies. Of late an increase in the need for help/advice with the cost of domestic fuel has been noted.)

May 2022. Some Statistics from Admin.:

In 2021, 4940 were given food.

To end of April 2022, 2632 people were fed - an increase of approx. 50%.

(Demand increasing for help with cost of domestic fuel.)

4th April 2022

Mon, 4 Apr 2022 at 10:37. Mr President writes:
Yesterday afternoon I was able to represent the Club at St Richard's Church for the service of giving thanks and taking action.There was about 30 people there and Lis and Sandra spoke about the Food Bank/Parish Larder - it's beginnings and how the various communities and volunteers have responded to the increase in support that has been required. Rotary did get a mention.I spoke briefly to Lis afterwards and she sends her Best Wishes to all.The congregants were asked in The Order of Service to commit to pledge, amongst other things, to donate food time or finance.


29th March 2022

We continue to support the initiative week to week. One of Our members attends as a volunteer each Tuesday to help to distribute food etc., and members visit to donate foodstuffs and other supplies as available. 

Today, Secretary Brendan and Past-President Ken visited to deliver 100 Easter Eggs so that the children will have a treat over the Easter Holidays. The Pictures show the consignment and Past President Ken wishing he was a kid again.

The Foodbank is busier than ever following the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak, the fanancial situation and employment problems. We will continue to support as and when we can.

21st December 2021
Rotarian Neale reports: The "Cafe" was flasks of hot water (DIY hot drink) & mince pies rather than toast. This was the busiest day I have witnessed so far. Lis started 15 mins. early as the queue waiting was so large.

Lis has just advised we fed 187 people with 60 referrals.This is a record.She again thanks us for our kindness and support, confirming that we have found a suitable partner organisation where our efforts really make a difference to peoples lives.

7th December 2021
Latest news from Lis: 

In November we fed approx 509 people and made 72 Saturday night meals.
Numbers are low due to changing to an earlier time and inviting customers to come inside the crypt to eat instead of a takeaway. I feel sure that numbers will increase over the next few weeks when the word gets around. On the 18th December Gabe is cooking a Christmas meal for customers, complete with all the trimmings.
On Tuesday, 7th December we start to hand out extra Christmas food bags to families.

9th November 2021


Having been involved at arm’s length through the Rotary Club's involvement for the best part of 2 years, an opportunity arose for me to find out at first hand how the Charity operates. Covid shut down the Church's Café facility and the Food Bank had to operate half in & half out of the Crypt, with users having to queue down the path in the open air. The Church now has a new lady rector and restrictions on churches are being relaxed. Their PCC agreed recently to re-open the Café and to use more of the church for the Food Bank operation, to enable users to be inside while waiting to be processed. This increased the number of volunteers required to run the operation, so I volunteered to lend a hand! There is a world of difference between sending money, dropping off food etc and supporting the Food Bank users directly, face to face.

It was with some trepidation that I reported for duty at 09-30 in the morning. It started well with my being offered a cup of Tea and a Bacon Sandwich. I was then tasked with carrying upstairs boxes of Potatoes, given the night before by Tesco. Potatoes are heavy! For those unfamiliar with St.Richard's, it is built on a slope creating a Ground floor at the top of the hill and a crypt at the bottom of the hill. The Ground floor has been split into 2 with a normal church in one half and a Hall in the other half. A staircase runs down the side of the church to the crypt. Beyond the Hall is a small kitchen. The new plan was to ask users to enter using the church hall entrance, be given a number tally, receive a cup of tea or coffee and a slice of Toast. Then take a seat at tables in the Hall until their number was called. They would then be processed by the Food Bank's manager, Lis, and escorted down the staircase to the Crypt to receive their food.

After doing the grunt work, my job was to meet users at the entrance, give them a number, explain the new process and invite them to get their tea & toast and show them into the hall. What could possibly go wrong?

The two ladies running the Hall Café opened the door at about 11-30am. There was a queue of about 10 people to start with.  I gave my numbers out (Numbers 1-30 in Total) explained the set up and got them seated in the Hall. By 11-45am more came in and we ran out of seats & tables in the Hall, no sign of Lis. Went downstairs to find her. She explained the Food Bank opened at 12-30 pm to coordinate with other Food Banks in Leeds. She cannot access The Trussell Trust's website on her iPad till 12-20pm. I had to go back, find more tables & chairs and advise everyone in the Hall they had a wait of at least half an hour, offered more tea & toast. No.4 said he had another appointment at 12.00 noon, so he gave me back his number and said he would come back later (I asked myself: Would he loose his place? Do I give him another number when he comes back?)

Food Bank opened at 12:30pm, nearly out of numbers to hand out. I had numbers 28, 29, 30, and No.1 left.  I put them down to get some more back from Liz, and when I came back 1 & 30 had been issued leaving tally's 28 & 29 left, plus 2,3, and 5 which I had just brought back. (Do I put 28 & 29 to the back of the queue? This came back to bite me later when after dealing with 27, Lis shouted 28 in the Hall, and receiving no reply, she shouted 29. No reply too, panic! I had to explain!!)

The users came in all shapes & sizes. They were in the main relaxed about the new system once it started to move. Several started to explain their situation to me when I met them at the door. I was not prepared for that, but I was able to reassure them that that we had a policy of turning no one away. Several took the numbers and went back out of the door to return later.

My Worst Moment: A man came with a huge dog and asked if he come in with it? I asked him to wait outside while I went and asked Lis. She responded: 'no dogs'. I had to go and tell him that unfortunately the dog could not come in. A lady already in the hall had a chat with Liz and came rushing out to call him back. Liz agreed if he took a number and waited outside she would come out to him when it was his turn, so that he would not miss out.

How do I feel today & what have I learned?

 - You cannot define people from a single glance.

 - It is hard to gain empathy when your life is so different.

 - Rotary is making an enormous difference to local people’s lives.

 - Helping is good for all the people involved.


9 th November 2021.

7th November 2021 - Update and bulb planting

Lis from the Food Bank reports (4/11/21): Our stats for October - 408 people fed and 155 takeaway meals handed out. With effect from  this Saturday we are inviting customers inside to sit and eat the meal / or take meal away with them. In a safe way and with a limit on numbers inside. Also re Food Bank from Tuesday, 9th November we are inviting customers inside again in a safe way. We shall be having them enter by the Church hall door (from 11.30am), have a cup of tea/coffee and toast while they  wait until we open about 12 30, and then will be guided downstairs through the church to the crypt to collect their food and then exit via the crypt door. The crypt entrance is still openfor deliveries and donations.

Lis also reported: Re - the crocuses.  This coming Friday, 5th November from about 10.30am, children from Bishop Young Academy are coming to the crypt to deliver their harvest donations and to plant some crocuses. I understand that some members of Climate Action Seacroft may also be coming to plant some crocuses too. Here is a picture of some of the children starting to plant the bulbs, and a screenshot of the entry on the Twitter account of Bishop Young CoE Academy showing the visit to the Food Bank and the planting of bulbs by the students of the Academy - thanks guys!. 

16th October 2021 Croccus bulbs for Church Grounds

On Tuesday of this week, Tresurer Neale delivered a box of 5000 purple crocus corms, bought by the Club to support Rotary's Polio Plus Programme, to the staff of the food bank and the Rector of St Richards church. The idea is to involve the young people in planting the bulbs so that everyone will enjoy a splash of spring colour when they flower, and to remind everyone of Rotary's support for the food bank.

Sadly, the food bank is as busy as ever, providing meals, take-aways as well as food items, but the good news is that it is receiving regular support from a number of sources, and they are reasonably stocked at present. The fridge we gave them money for is well used. They have also benefited from produce given by local churches following their 'Harvest Festival' services. We continue to offer our support in money and kind as we can and as they request.

24/8/2021.Here are the figures for the number of people helped in August:

August totals: 460 people given food. 105 Take Away Meals provided.

Tuesday 27th July 2021

Brendan & I have returned from our Shopping Trip. We delivered it all straight to The Food Bank who kept open for us. 
We bought the following:-  
24 Carnation Milk 
24 Litres Skimmed Long life Milk 
50 410g Baked Beans 
48 Tins Chopped Tomatoes 
24 Tins Kidney Beans 
36 Tinned 354g Chicken 
48 Pot Noodles 
48 326g Sweet Corn 
18x6 Packets of Pasta 
30x500g Tilda Rice 
24x340g Corned Beef 
60x110g Tuna 
Total Cost £350.36 

Brendan & Neale
Thursday 22nd July 2021

At our Club meeting tonight, Members were thanked for their individual cash contributions (usually in lieu of not having to pay for a meal at the weekly meeting) towards further food purchases for the Food Bank. We were all inspired by Cllr. David Jenkins when he spoke to our Club last week, emphasising the real needs of people in his 'constituency'. Neale recently visited the Food Bank, and was distressed by the low state of their stocks. It was agreed that these shoud be supplimented by us with another 'shopping trip' to "COSTCO" as soon as possible. Neale and Brendan agreed to do this ASAP. Bill reported that there had been no offers of food from Giving World recently. We have submitted an application to District 1040 for a further 'Matching Grant' as we did last year.

Friday 1st July 2021

One of the first tasks our new President undertook was to invite our Local City Councillor, David Jenkins, to give a talk to our Club. Here is his (verbatim) reply:

Dear Martyn,

Thank you and thank you and to your members for the fantastic support you continue to give to the Food Bank at St Richards. I am happy to speak – I think later in July would be better…Can I suggest the 15th or 22nd July and I will pencil you in!!


Fri. 11th June 2021

Here is the latest update from the St. Richard's Food Bank manager, Lis, following our latest monetary donation. Our Treasurer, Neale, asked for some details in order to report to our AGM and Club Assembly. This is what she wrote:

Many thanks, again, Neale for your Club’s most generous, donations. Our statistics for May as follows: 290 people fed and 179 Saturday night meals given out. 
We were closed on 4th May to give volunteers, a break. 
Recent stories - we have been helping a family Mum and her 3 children. She had been subjected to domestic abuse. Her father is helping her. Also, last week a family turned up 2,adults and 2 children. They were ashamed to come to a foodbank, but both parents (Business Analysts) had been made redundant due to Pandemic. 
We are having quite a new clients coming for help and a few referrals coming from local schools. Parents asking for help. 
I hope these cases will be of use to you for your report and that your AGM goes well.
Sincere thanks and best wishes, 
from Lis. 
P.S. We are still giving out the Washing Powder the Rotary Club provided which is much appreciated by all. 

Tues. 25th May 2021

Another delivery of food by 4 of our members. We received another pallet stacked high with food (and other items) from Giving World yesterday. The consignment consisted of Bags of Tortilla Chips (different flavours), Oatcakes, Jars of Pasta Sauce, and Packets of Hot Chocolate drink. There were two smaller boxes with drinking mugs, plastic wine glasses, table napkins, pen and stamp kits, colouring pencils, summer scribbles sets etc (the latter for little gifts for the children). The good filled the boots of 3 cars and one estate car boot! Naturally Lis and her co-workers were delighted to receive this shipment, especially since it was a slightly out of the ordinary food donation for the Bank and will be appreciated by the recipients as a bit of a change.

We are greatly indepted to for this donation as with the others in the past year. So far they have sent us over £4400's worth of good FOR FREE!! Thank you so much Giving World (in Leicester).

9th March 2021: Eggs for Easter

Treasurer Neale reports: Accompanied Past-president Ken, who has been egg shopping, to the Food Bank today. Got there a bit early and was able to help some old folk from Garforth Church unload their collected food. They had collected free, out of date, fruit & veg from Tesco in Seacroft on Monday evening. Picture is of Ken & Lis.

22nd February 2021: News from the Foodbank: We continue to be very busy. In January we fed a total of 421 people. (336 adults and 85 children). 151 takeaway meals were handed out - despite the cold and snow people still queued up for a hot meal.


STOP PRESS: In early December we heard that we have been awarded a District 1040 Matching Grant by Rotary International tosupport this work. They have matched the £1,000 we orginally collected from Club Members and others. Our fundraising continues..... {Many of our members have donated the cost of the meal we usually enjoy when we meet each week, since this has not happened since early March 2020 - along with other generous gestures of support.}

Original Article - 30th June 2020.

We, sadly, live in an era in which Food Banks are needed, despite ostentatious frivolity by many. There are geograhical areas where poverty and need are only too real. The situation is likly to worsen when the economic effects of the Covid-19 Virus outbreak start, regarding job security, the end of the furlough scheme etc. Many more people may find themselves in real difficulty.With this in mind, we agreed on 18th June, at our weekly virtual meeting on Zoom, to donate £500 immediately to one of the local food banks where we have recognised real need. So on 29th June 2020, President Ken and Treasurer Neale went to St Richard's Church (see picture) in the Parish of Seacroft in Leeds.

The following picture shows President Ken in the crypt, handing over the cheque for the £500 to the staff of the food bank. (Obligatory face mask and social distancing!)

In early December we heard that we have been awarded a District 1040 Matching Grant by Rotary International to support this work. They have matched the £1,000 we orginally collected from Club Members and others. Our fundraising continues..... {Many of our members have donated the cost of the meal we usually enjoy when we meet, since this has not happened since early March 2020 - along with other generous gestures of support.}

22nd February 2021: News from the Foodbank:

We continue to be very busy. In January we fed a total of 421 people. (336 adults and 85 children). 151 takeaway meals were handed out - despite the cold and snow people still queued up for a hot meal. Lis.

13th January 2021

Further delivery from Giving World to Neale’s home: The Pallet contained:- 11 Doz. Bottles of BBQ Sauce, 14 x 20 Boxes Flat Breads, 2 Boxes Mini Crackers, 50 x 1 Ltr. Bottles of juice, 2 Boxes Baby Wipes, 1 Box of 50 Face Masks, 1 Box Tea Towels, 1 Box Shopping Bags, 2 Boxes x 24 Tissues. Neale writes: I am pleased to say that my wife and I managed to deliver nearly all the mound of food, so graciously given by Giving World to the Bank. Lis collected the boxes of Doritos. On behalf of Lis I would advise you that they were thrilled to receive so much stuff in one go "It was just like Christmas". We are blessed to have found and connected a worthy charity with a worthy cause - this is Service above Self. I know you are all hoping to join in as we continue our support during the rest of President Tony's year. I have discussed with Lis some short term changes while this pandemic is at its height. She is going to provide us with a list of food stuff they regularly run short of. She is also going to provide statistics on their activities.

19th January: Lis wrote: Hi Neale, Thanks again for your recent delivery - good job we didn't leave it until Thursday - the dreaded snow arrived. Some interesting figures for you: Since the start of the Pandemic we have fed approx. 2400 people. In December alone we fed approx. 620 people and handed out approx. 130 extra Christmas food bags to families. On the Saturday before Christmas we handed out 56 x 2 course  Christmas dinner takeaway meals. Starting this January I will send you figures  at  each  month  end.  We would be grateful for any of the following items - UHT Semi skimmed milk, tinned meat, tinned tuna, tinned fruit, tinned rice pudding, tinned carrots, tinned peas, (no sweetcorn thanks), Tea bags. Tinned potatoes or packet instant mash. We are ok for beans and soup,  Lis.

This is the reply we received from the foodbank when we wished them a Happy New Year and to enquire if they needed more supplies:

Yes, Happy New year to you too and all your members.
We were very busy over the Christmas period.  In December alone we fed approx 620 people and gave out about 130 extra Christmas bags of food to families. Thank you for asking - yes we have enough food for the moment and we will continue to open throughout this next lock down.We were busy again today - fed just over 110 people. I will keep you posted of our progress. Difficult times ahead I think especially with the schools closed now.
Thank you again for all your support. Will be in touch again soon.

Update: 17th December 2020

We received this message when our Treasurer told the Food Bank Manager of our Good News about the District Grant, and our plans to help them into 2021, including regular trips to the local cash and carry to top up supplies: "That's really great news, Neale. So appreciate it. We fed just under 200 people on Tuesday. We are open throughout Xmas and New year too. Yes, please contact me in the New year and we will have a chat about future plans etc.
Hope you all have a lovely Christmas.  Best Wishes from Lis and all the team at St Richard's crypt. "

 Update: 11th November 2020.

Here is a copy of an email received from our Treasurer earlier today (Well done Neale and Brendan - Lis is from the Food Bank).

Good afternoon Fellow Rotarians,
You can all be proud that your generosity will enable Seacroft Food Bank and the Children of those who come for support to have a Christmas time which will be better than what they could hope for. Today Lis, Brendan & myself on your behalf bought the following:-

12 x 360g Family Circle Biscuits
48 x small tins of Mandarin Oranges
12 x Tins of Fruit Cocktail
12 x Tins Carnation Evap. Milk
36 x 50g Big Hoops Bags
32 x 20g. Quavers
12 x 1 Ltr. Whole UHT
12  x 1 Ltr. Semi UHT
4Kg  Tub Party Treats
20 x 80g Mini rainbow twists
180 x Traffic Light Lollies
32 x Santa Selection Boxes
12 x  392g tin of Chicken in White Sauce
4 lots of various sizes of Foil Trays & Lids (Saturday Take-Away Service)

Picture Attached

Update: 27th October 2020.
President Tony and 3 other members delivered more supplies to the food bank today, Not food, but items that the foodbank clients would find useful:
30 Family Essentials Packs comprising: 4 Toilet Rolls, 350ml Shampoo, 840ml Washing Liquid & Fabric Conditioner, 500ml Shower Gel.
1 Box    - 14 Size 5 Nappies
1 Box    - 12 Size 6 Nappies
1 Box    - 20 x 25g Dove Soap. 5x100ml Hand Balm
1 Box    - 10 x 0.5L Liquid Soap
1 Box    - 20 x 400ml Hairspray
4 Boxes – 50 Soap Bars, per box

These items were supplied free of charge (we paid transport costs only!) by a marvellous organisation called "Giving World" whose motto is 'Nothing to waste - No one in need'.

The picture shows our members delivering to the Food Bank staff, the second picture shows the boxes:


UPDATE 17th September 2020

Treasurer Neale and Secretary Brendan purchased two car boot-loads of food from the local Cash-and-Carry and delivered same to the Food Bank on 14th September. The donation was very gratefully (and emotionally) received.The picture shows one load of the food which was delivered. The Club has agreed to repeat this exercise monthly now, at least until Christmas.

UPDATE: Treasurer Neale Lucas writes on 25th August 2020

On Monday morning (24th) President Tony and myself visited the Food Bank. Tony presented the PPE Face Masks bought by the Club and also the Masks he donated himself.

Lis Bows thanked us on behalf of the Food Bank and explained how our previous gift had been more than welcome. She tearfully talked about how hard it had become to operate. All referral agencies are shut and certainly many of the needy have neither a computer or IT skills to operate one. The Community Cafe attached to St. Richard's had been a shelter where people could come for a chat or to discuss issues. Most Food was given by local churches but as they are all shut that supply line is much reduced. They now issue warm food on Saturdays in take away boxes, but the boxes are now an additional expense.

Previously, they collected and gave away Toys in December last year and the Chef came in on Christmas Day and cooked a Dinner. Currently, they support about 50 people each Tuesday and a further 50 on a Saturday. As well as food they give cleaning products, toiletries and other ladies requirements.

Attached are photos of our visit, Neale.



'What We Do' Main Pages:



We only meet via Zoom - no physical meeting venue at present.


We support the Food Bank run from St Richard's Church Seacroft


Club's involvement with local schools - help with reading. Here are two accounts by our members who help with the scheme:


Reports of some of our events/activities by year


Donations by the Club over the last few years.


Rotary against Polio


The story of providing a simple hand washing facility to a slum in Africa


Successful Matching Grant Project


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