Family which set up own foodbank to help friends through Covid needs donations to meet spiralling demand

All Year Round’ supports families in need across Cardiff but the cost-of-living-crisis means demand is outstripping donations

DURING the Covid pandemic, Tara and David Beverstock started helping their close friends and family get hold of “little things that would cheer them up.”

But what began as a family affair quickly grew into an online community of 1,200 members and ‘All Year Round’ – the community group it blossomed into – now supports families in need across Cardiff.

The Beverstock family understood how it felt to struggle to put food on the table. In 2013 they used a food bank themselves.

Tara said: “(I’ve) seen first-hand how working families are struggling. Being in that situation really hits home.”

Tara (left) and David (right) with their daughter

Tara and David set up ‘All Year Round’ in December 2020 to help people get the supplies they needed.

“People were struggling to get their hands on stuff as shops were closed,” said Tara.

“We worked up until Christmas Eve delivering toys and hampers. We even kitted out someone’s three-bedroom house.

“We helped with almost anything and everything that we possibly could.”

David also volunteered as a Father Christmas in Tremorfa, Splott, Ely, Rumney and Penarth – bringing festive cheer to more than 180 children.

Their first year proved to be a huge success for Tara and David.

“If the police had been patrolling the streets, we probably would’ve gotten into trouble with the amount of people dropping donations off,” she said with a smile.

Tara now dedicates all her time to ‘All Year Round,’ balancing it with the running of her home and looking after her four children, aged seven-20, while David works full-time at Asda and helps whenever he can.

The caring couple also work with homeless people across Cardiff as well as with local charities and other organisations.

David’s Santa suit last year

They are meeting with staff at the Huggard Centre to discuss donating small sweet and chocolate hampers in the process of putting together 150 meals for families on Christmas Day. They have also donated meals to Heath Hospital.

Tara and Davids daughter with donations at Heath Hospital.

However, the ongoing cost-of-living crisis has meant that donations have reduced during 2023 while the amount of people in need of support has risen and that means Tara and David have been unable to help everyone that seeks their assistance.

Tara has already had to say no to 15 people in the build-up to Christmas, including five in just one morning.

“We simply do not have any resources or any food in the food bank here to donate,” Tara explained.

Tara and David fund ‘All Year Round’ partly with their own money but also depend on donations from the kind-hearted local community.

“Last night one lady turned up and dropped off five bags of toys as a donation and I was absolutely gobsmacked,” said Tara.

Cardiff resident Lynne Calliste completed a sponsored silence for ‘All Year Round’ and raised enough money for a batch of presents which will be donated to families in need.

A mother-of-four, also from Cardiff, who sought help from Tara and David, highlighted her experience with ‘All Year Round.’

“Tara was running around helping me and my children when I arrived in Cardiff, helping with links to accommodation and many more things,” she said. “I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t met her and other kind souls.”

Despite the generous donations from people across the city, there are still families in need who Tara and David haven’t been able to help.

Tara describes one struggling family who have been taken out of their home and put into a hotel, due to a shortage of alternative temporary housing.

“The mum does everything she can for her kids even if that means she suffers,” Tara said.

“They do not have the facilities to cook lunch for themselves. This mum is crying herself to sleep when the kids are sleeping because the family is struggling to get by.”

Tara and David hope to support them with donations of cooking facilities, food and Christmas decorations to make sure the family gets through a tough period.

Why are so many people struggling?

Baskets of food donations from All yYear Round cahrity

A key factor behind increased demand for food banks is the growing disparity between real wages compared with rising food prices and energy bills.

Over the past year, the inflation rate of food and non-alcoholic beverages increased by 12.2% on average. An Office for National Statistics (ONS) report found that four in 10 adults are struggling to pay their energy bills, reflecting the increased stress on people’s budgets across the country.

Housing costs in Cardiff are also on the rise, adding to the difficulty faced by many families.

While the average house price in Wales as a whole decreased by 2.7% between September 2022 and September 2023, the average house price in Cardiff increased by 2.5%. This is in line with the increasing rent prices in the city, and demonstrates the strain felt by Cardiffians struggling to get by.

Because of this, six out of 10 adults in the UK are spending less on non-essential goods, and four in 10 are spending less on essential goods, such as food. Many are left with no option but to use food banks.

All of these costs are rising faster than wages, heavily contributing to the heightened reliance on food banks for people in Cardiff and the UK.

The ongoing cost-of-living crisis is hitting working-class families the hardest. That’s why the work of Tara and David, as well as the other food banks and charitable organisations around the country, is so important.

“Anyone who is struggling and anyone who needs help, if we can help in anyway, please message us,” said Tara.

“People find it embarrassing but don’t be ashamed to ask for help. We were embarrassed to ask for help but there is no shame in it.

“At the moment we need donations primarily for the food bank and stuff to wrap the donations with, such as bows, Cellotape, cellophane and wrapping paper.”

They are also “struggling to buy gifts for teenagers.”

Tara and David’s work with ‘All Year Round’ is a testament to generosity and selflessness of the people of Cardiff.

Spending their time helping those in need, with no financial incentive, has had such a positive impact on so many people’s lives and will continue to do so thanks to the help from generous donations from people across the city.

You can find out more about ‘All Year Round’ and how to donate by using this link to their Facebook page.

You can find their Go Fund Me page by using this link.