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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Russell Myers & Jennifer Newton

William and Kate vow to return to food bank 'without entourage' after helping out

The Prince and Princess of Wales have vowed to return to a food bank "without the entourage" after giving up their time to help volunteers pack packages for those in need.

The couple visited Windsor Foodshare, just a stone’s throw from their Berkshire home, which offers not just basics such as bread and pasta, but also eggs and fresh fruit and vegetables.

Kate wore a recycled bright pink Hobbs coat for the visit, which she teamed with a matching jumper from the same brand and smart black trousers, while William looked smart in a green jumper and navy blazer.

The royals put in a shift packing boxes ready to be collected by locals as Kate revealed how pupils from their children’s school had also visited the food bank to witness the community work first-hand.

Prince William and Kate at Windsor Foodshare today (PA)

The couple were met by Foodshare's organiser, Sarah Kember, and Reverend Matthew Scott, minister of Dedworth Green Baptist Church, where the initiative is based.

Its 48 volunteers now help around 7,000 people a year and have seen demand for its services soar by 18 per cent in the last 12 months as the cost of living crisis has bitten.

Each parcel will last around four days and can either be picked up from the church or delivered. Toiletries and cleaning products are also provided on a monthly basis.

The couple were then taken out into the church hall to meet and help the cheerful team of volunteers.

The couple get down to work in the food bank (PA)

William was given a trolley and a shopping list and asked to help pick out items for a family of four who would come late to collect their goods, while Kate was asked to sort tinned and packet items into use by dates in order to minimise food wastage.

"Eggs, just the one packet?" asked the prince. "A treat? Got to be Jaffa cakes, surely."

Chatting with a group of female volunteers who were sorting bread, William said mischievously: "I can tell who the naughty ones are here. There’s a real gang here. Can we have some bread please? This is so well organised. It's really efficient and I promise you that’s not something we have seen everywhere."

Asked if he wanted to help out with another bag, the future king smiled and said: "I'm here, I'm your man."

As the princess sorted tins of spaghetti she bombarded volunteers with questions, such as how many clients are helped each week.

The couple had a meeting with those who work at the food bank (PA)

William stopped by and teased his wife: “There's too much nattering going on here! We need to speed things up a bit!' I've already learnt who the chatty ones are here."

In return Kate teased him about his loading of the trolley. "It was a bit of a mess", her husband said with mock sheepishness.

"This really is a wonderful place for bringing people together," the princess remarked.

As they left the couple promised to return, with William saying: "We would love to come back without the entourage."

Kate sorts through some of the donations to the food bank (PA)

After Mrs Kember said: "We are now helping around 200 people a week and for many of them this is the only fresh food they will get all week."

"What has been the hardest thing? How do you actually set up a food bank?" William asked.

While Kate asked whether there had been a "slight shift" in people's awkwardness in obtaining hand-outs from food and baby banks.

The couple arriving at the food bank (PA)

"It feels like it is a little more accepted because people are feeling now that it not so much their fault that they are struggling because of the emergency crisis. It is not their fault that they are struggling for money," explained Mrs Kember, nodding.

"So people want to reach out for help and support?" interjected the princess.

"Once they come for the first time they actually realise that it is not so bad to come to us. There are a lot of people like them. We have working families that are still struggling. Mind blowing that they are working and still struggling," Mrs Kember added.

The visit to Windsor Fareshare comes after the couple also went to a church in Swansea last year, which was also running a food bank.

William pushes a trolley as he helps to prepare food baskets (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

There Kate spoke of her concern saying: "With the cost of living crisis, there are a lot of desperate people out there." She also said how foodbanks are a "'lifeline to so many people".

Meanwhile in his Christmas speech last month, King Charles spoke of his sympathy for families who were struggling amid spiralling costs.

He spoke of how many are struggling to "keep their families fed and warm” and the “great anxiety and hardship” that people were facing.

The monarch said: "At this time of great anxiety and hardship, be it for those around the world facing conflict, famine or natural disaster, or for those at home finding ways to pay their bills and keep their families fed and warm, we see it in the humanity of people throughout our nations and the Commonwealth who so readily respond to the plight of others.

"I particularly want to pay tribute to all those wonderfully kind people who so generously give food or donations, or that most precious commodity of all, their time, to support those around them in greatest need, together with the many charitable organisations which do such extraordinary work in the most difficult circumstances."

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