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16 October 2020

KEY2Life Food Bank’s Harvest Festival goes virtual

Monday 19 – Friday 23 October, 2020

This year, due to coronavirus, South Tyneside’s KEY2Life Food Bank’s annual Community Harvest Festival will now take place as a week-long celebration on the charity’s Facebook page.

Taking the event online this year, means that despite being physically apart, South Tyneside residents can still celebrate harvest as a truly ‘connected’ community, bringing hope and help to those whose financial situation has drastically worsened as a result of the pandemic.

With contributions from local churches and schools; ‘tales from the allotment’; KEY’s Business Development and Communities Manager, Jo Benham-Brown, talking food poverty and all things #SchoolBreakfastBill with South Shields MP Emma Lewell-Buck; a live-streamed tour of the food bank facility and lots more besides, there really will be something for everyone.

KEY2Life are inviting the public – schools, churches, businesses, friends and family – to take part in the festival by engaging with content on the food bank Facebook page next week and sharing what harvest means to them, by posting their own photos and videos to the page (by replying to posts or by direct message).

This might include photos of schools’ harvest arts and crafts; harvest scenes from around South Tyneside as people are out and about; a class rendition of  ‘Harvest Samba’ to lift everyone’s spirits; a poignant thanksgiving harvest prayer; or even a favourite autumnal recipe that we could all easily try at home.

The charity is also appealing for donations so it can continue to support those low-income families who are struggling to put food on the table. KEY2Life has seen a 300% increase in the number of parcels handed out this year and has fed over 7,000 people in South Tyneside since April. The food bank anticipates that demand is only going to rise as the economic situation looks set to worsen over the winter months.

The public can support the Harvest Festival in the following ways:

  • Drop-off urgently needed food items direct to KEY2Life at Boldon Lane Library (postcode NE34 0LZ), or to local supermarket donation points
  • Make a financial donation online via the charity’s website:
  • Host a food collection at your school, church, or business, if you can do so safely (Key2Life can collect if necessary)



Jo Benham Brown, KEY’s Business and Community Development Manager, said:
“Harvest Festival is always a significant date in the KEY2Life calendar where we looks forward to coming together with the local community to celebrate and give thanks, as well as to collect and distribute food to some of our borough’s most vulnerable families and individuals.”

“We usually receive donations of food from schools and churches following their Harvest Festivals but due to current restrictions not all of these have been able to go ahead. This sadly means our stocks are significantly depleted at a time of unprecedented demand when many more people are needing to use our service for the first time.”

“Taking this year’s festival online with Facebook seemed an innovative solution to ensure that we can still all come together as a community and make sure that families stay fed. I would urge anyone who can spare a tin or a packet, or who is able to make a financial donation, to help their ‘neighbour’, to do so.”

For more information about KEY2Life Food Bank, visit: or the KEY2Life Food Bank Facebook page (@key2lifesouthtyneside).