Cricklade-based specialist packaging company GWP has donated 200 specially-designed boxes to Swindon Foodbank to improve the way the charity handles its growing number of collections.
Donations are typically received by the foodbank in re-used cardboard boxes and carrier bags. The logistics of handling them can be time-consuming – boxes are often flimsy and overfilled while bags tend to split.
As a result, the food has to be re-packed into regular-shaped, rigid boxes to transport to its warehouse, where it needs to be weighed before it can be sorted.
To help overcome the problem GWP, which earlier this year adopted Swindon Foodbank as its chosen charity, has designed a flat-packed, easy-assemble box with a clear sleeve on the outside for a pre-printed label.
The boxes have handle holes and are a consistent size and shape to fit the Foodbank’s van. When not being used they can be flattened to take up less of the Foodbank’s valuable warehouse space. They are also waterproof, stack securely and safely, are easy to label and re-label and quicker and safer to move.
The boxes are supplied to organisations that regularly donate so that when Foodbank volunteers arrive the collection is ready to take away and clearly labelled – saving time and improving record keeping.
Swindon Foodbank project manager Andrew Hill said: “We weigh food in and out of our warehouse for several reasons. Firstly, to give an idea at any point in time of our stocking levels. Secondly, as a charity we are required to take a monetary value to our accounts in regard to donations received in kind. And thirdly so that we can recognise the scale of the giving by issuing a thank you to the donor that clearly tells them how much food was given.
“We often pick up donations from multiple sources in a single van run, so being able to quickly segregate each donation by donor and load the van quickly is essential. At Autumn Harvest Thanksgiving, we receive multiple donations in bulk, last year we had 900kg from a school and even with the enthusiastic help of the children it took an hour to pack the food at the point of collection.”
GWP managing director Ruth Cook added: “We worked with Foodbank last year to help improve the handling and transport of food for distribution to their clients and we know that our input and donation of custom-made boxes has made a great deal of difference to the charity.
“We are delighted that, once again, our expertise in packaging design and logistics has been able to help Foodbank, this time at food donation points. We know that demand for Foodbank’s services is on the increase and we’re really pleased that we could help”.
Since making Swindon Foodbank its chosen charity, GWP has helped with several aspects of its logistical activity, including inventory management and stock control, IT and electrical expertise and storage.
GWP, which also has a base in Salisbury, is a market-leading designer and manufacturer of specialist protective packaging products.
Pictured: Andrew Hill of Swindon Foodbank and Ruth Cook of GWP Packaging with one of the new GWP-donated Foodbank collection boxes