Grants from our Coronavirus Response Fund have been supporting inspiring local initiatives who are getting food to our most vulnerable, supporting our most isolated elderly residents, and adapting other vital services to ensure people with the highest needs continue receiving the help they require. There has been a huge rise in the demand for services such as food banks. Manna Food Bank is no exception. 

The volunteers and trustees of Manna, the independent food bank for Spelthorne, were delighted to receive a grant of £5,000 from the Coronavirus Response Fund being administered by the Community Foundation for Surrey. The money has been spent on purchasing fresh fruit, vegetables, bread, eggs and milk which supplement the tins and packets of dry food in a food parcel at this time of need.

The Chairman of the Manna Trustees, Elizabeth Wood-Dow OBE, welcomed the donation from the Community Foundation for Surrey, as a huge help at this time.

“From the beginning of lockdown, we were having difficulty securing fresh products, but this brilliant grant enabled us to negotiate with wholesale suppliers who would deliver, saving us so much time and money,” said Mrs Wood-Dow.

“Our clients have of course benefited too, and they thank our volunteers every time we deliver. So we would all like to thank the Community Foundation, who have stepped in to help us very promptly and swiftly.”

Manna is different from other food banks, as it does not cook or serve lunches, or deliver ready-cooked meals to residents. Its volunteers provide parcels for those in urgent or immediate need, before other statutory services can step in. Volunteers can tailor parcels for dietary needs such as vegetarian, diabetes, gluten-free and Halal, and parcels are based on living and cooking facilities, and on the needs of homeless people.


Manna was established in 2012, and was opened by the Bishop of Kensington, though it is operated entirely by volunteers and is independent of the Church of England. It takes referrals from statutory and voluntary organisations and individuals, e.g. doctors, social services, Councils and others, and puts together parcels of food and other products designed to help families.

Donations are usually collected by local churches, but during the pandemic, with churches closed, the volunteers have approached local shops to be temporary drop off points for donations – this has proved a great success. Volunteers then collect the donations and sell-by dates are checked at HQ. Everything is then sorted into food parcels for delivery to homes. Volunteers are out at least three times a week to cope with demand during the current pandemic.

To find out more about Manna Food Bank and their services, visit their website here.