Lichfield Food Bank is a major resource for Asha. Whenever the Food Bank has surplus their chair, David Clarke, tells Asha and Angela drives to Lichfield and returns with her little Fiat packed to the gunnels. More recently, David hired a van and saved Asha from cutting to the minimum what it could offer asylum seekers.
David’s December report on the Food Bank’s run-up to Christmas contains a special mention of Asha. He writes:
Asha is a charity in Stoke on Trent that supports asylum seekers and those whose application for political asylum is refused but who are not deported. They have very little to live on (and literally nothing for the latter group). We have supported them with food whenever we have sufficient surplus ourselves. Returning to my theme of what we do being worthwhile, here is part of the latest thank-you letter they sent:
“Asha is most grateful for the splendid amount of food Lichfield has given us recently. It has made a big difference. THANK YOU.
For the first time we have been able to give every asylum seeker oil and rice and five items of their choice. This is much better than us packing a parcel for what we think they want and can use.
The Christmas Tree (donated by one of our volunteers)is splendid. Two students immediately set it up and when I turned round it had glittery lights. Nobody was sure where they had come from!
The children’s Christmas Party was amazing. Families started arriving at 12.15 and they kept coming! The party proper didn’t begin until 2 o’clock. We had hired a large hall but with 137 children and around 70 parents we were bulging at the seams. We will need to find somewhere bigger next year. Every child had a donated lunch and a present from Santa Claus.
As of 30 November the Lichfield Food Bank had distributed over 252,000 meal equivalents and donations had reached record levels. One outcome is that Asha will soon be the recipient of another load of surplus stock to replenish our food store for the coming year when donations inevitably slacken.