posted 5th May 2020
Drive-thru food donation hub at Reigate Grammar
“This is a brilliant example of the local community coming together in a positive way to help those in need and I hope it will be a legacy after this crisis”
Photo credit: Fable Photography

On Thursday, April 23 Reigate Grammar School (RGS) was turned into a drive-thru food donation hub by St Matthew’s Church Foodbank and Loveworks, with food pouring in from 9am until 5pm.

Donations at local food banks have been trying to keep up with a dramatic increase in demand from clients since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

Over 200 families all of them staff, parents, current and former students drove through the playground and dropped off their generous contributions to help struggling families. Many cars contained donations from numerous households collected from their street or other RGS families, plus some dropped off by foot.

In total, three minibuses were filled with food and other essentials.

The operation was staffed by volunteers from Redhill and Reigate Mutual Aid, a group set up by local Susan Gregory in response to the crisis, as well as staff and ex-students from the school and foodbank volunteers.

Credit: Fable Photography

Social distancing was maintained at all times, with hazard tape marking areas. People donating were encouraged to stay in their cars and open their boots from inside to reduce social contact with volunteers.

New and second-hand toys, puzzles, books and games were also donated.

Liz Wheeler from the St Matthew’s Foodbank who came up with the idea, said: “A big thank you to Reigate Grammar School for being the first to pilot the scheme. The response has been overwhelming. These much-needed donations will make a huge difference to food bank clients who are struggling at this very difficult time.”

Credit: Fable Photography
Susan Gregory from Reigate and Redhill Mutual Aid said: “The foodbank came to us with this terrific idea of drive-thru donations and we were only too keen to provide volunteers to help. This is a brilliant example of the local community coming together in a positive way to help those in need and I hope it will be a legacy after this crisis.”

Sean Davey, Head of the Reigate Grammar School Foundation said: “When the opportunity arose to provide our school facilities for foodbank donations, we jumped at the chance.

Our brilliant staff, ex-students and parent volunteers were amazing and I’m pleased that we were able to encourage our school community to fill three minibuses of much-needed food for vulnerable people in need in the local area. Today was a huge success and we were thrilled to be part of it.”

Caroline Lawson, Assistant Head Reigate Grammar School: “We had a tremendous turn out from our local families to support the initiative. We collected far more food and items than we had anticipated and we are so thankful for the generosity of all our parents and the RGS community at this difficult time.”

The combined local foodbanks may hold other similar donation days in the near future.

Submitted by
Elizabeth de Winton