Taylor Swift's 'generous' donation to the people of Cardiff couldn't have come at a more vital moment

Woman standing by food donations in Cardiff Foodbank, which Taylor Swift has just donated "generously" to.
-Credit: (Image: WalesOnline/ Rob Browne)


Taylor Swift may have left mountains of memories for the people who saw her on her Eras tour at Cardiff's Principality Stadium, but she also left another lasting legacy.

The summer months are the quietest time for Cardiff Foodbank, which is based in Splott, but supports people all across the city. So it came as a very welcome surprise for CEO Rachel Biggs when she got a call from Taylor Swift's team, who passed on a special message from the global superstar singer. For the latest Cardiff news, sign up to our newsletter here.

Swift has donated to other charities around the UK, but Rachel was still surprised to receive the news that she wanted to help them financially. Rachel said: "It's not the kind of call you expect to take really so it was a bit of a surprise, but brilliant to have the support. It's going to make a huge difference. At the moment for us, we are currently spending £6,000 a month on food, to top up the donations that are kindly made by the general public, but the need for it is going up and our spending is going up. Obviously the donation is fantastic and it supports our work but it's also about raising the profile, and it shines a light on poverty in Wales."

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She added: "It gives us an opportunity to raise our profile and work with people to say - this isn't right. We don't want to be here. So the donation is going to support us to continue to feed people for as long as we need it, but also to work to a future where we don't need a food bank. "

Walking through the huge warehouse full of food donations in Splott, Cardiff, Rachel noted: "Usually when people come in here they are really hit by the size of the food bank. The fact that we exist here, and on such a large basis is saddening to people when they visit- and that comes across when they see it for the first time because it shows the scale of the problem."

Large warehouse- food bank in Cardiff
The huge warehouse in Splott where food is stored before being taken to people who cannot afford it all around Cardiff -Credit:WalesOnline/ Rob Browne
Man who volunteers at food bank in Cardiff, moving some of the containers in the warehouse, where food is stored.
One of the volunteers moving the containers in Cardiff Foodbank, where people volunteer every day -Credit:WalesOnline/ Rob Browne
Volunteer at Cardiff Foodbank, checking the items
Volunteers have to regularly sort through all of the food that is coming in and monitor expiration dates, as well as keep track of what items they might be short of -Credit:WalesOnline/ Rob Browne

The gift from Taylor Swift has been described as a "generous donation" by the charity, and reportedly beyond its "wildest dreams", although it had not stated exactly how much it received. The charity, which supports people across the city by offering emergency food to people in crisis, is part of The Trussell Trust's network of 428 foodbanks, which work to tackle food poverty and hunger in local communities, as well as across the UK.

Despite only one day having passed since Cardiff Foodbank announced it had been contacted by Taylor Swift's team, the charity has already started to experience the ripple effect of this, as more powerful conversations have been ignited since the announcement.

Rachel said: "Yesterday I announced the news, and we've had so much interaction and conversation online and that's the thing that we wanted. Shining that light and the reaction has been incredible about thanking Taylor Swift for using her platform, but also about challenging and saying - change is needed.

Some of the workers and volunteers at Cardiff Foodbank, where Taylor Swift has just handed out a 'generous donation' to
Some of the workers and volunteers at Cardiff Foodbank -Credit:WalesOnline/ Rob Browne
Food bank in Cardiff- food parcels being sorted through
Food being sorted through -Credit:WalesOnline/ Rob Browne
Woman who works in food bank, which Taylor Swift has just made a donation to
Taylor Swift's donation has helped spark a conversation -Credit:WalesOnline/ Rob Browne

She added: "Food banks shouldn't exist, and we agree. We don't want to be here but we'll be here for as long as we're needed. The reaction that has come out has been very supportive of our work.

"Anything that really helps raise the profile at any point is incredibly helpful. Particularly someone who's using their huge platform to enable us to do that. But at the moment, having looked at our latest statistics - we have seen in April and May, that already compared to last year, we've given out almost 9% more food parcels than the same time last year, and that's on top of what's already been significant growth."

Cardiff Foodbank makes a list of items daily which it needs more of or has received fewer donations for, and when WalesOnline visited on Tuesday, June 25, there were several products it was short of, including potatoes, rice pudding, cooking sauces, tinned fish, milk, custard, carrots, fruit juice, sweets and chocolate, deodorant and toothbrushes.

Operations coordinator, Jodie Jay, who works at Cardiff Foodbank.
Operations coordinator, Jodie Jay, who works at Cardiff Foodbank. -Credit:WalesOnline/ Rob Browne

Operations coordinator Jodie Jay said: "The donation makes a lot of things easier for my role in particular, because we've seen a drop in donations from the public and supermarkets and things like that- but an increase in need, so it means we're having to purchase a lot more food.

"My job on a weekly basis is to put in orders with wholesalers and things, just to top up those donations from the public to make sure we're not running out of items, because otherwise we can't fulfil a full food parcel for people, so getting financial donations is amazing. It means we can buy exactly what we need and the items we're really short of at the time."