When I wrote this last year it was World Faith Week and I wrote about the faith I have in our community to step up and help when it’s needed.
Last year we had one or two visitors a week to our local church foodbank, this year I know it’s risen to more than twelve, and we’re just one little church in a group of many.
After a visit to our local Foodbank I could see first hand how generous we all can be.
The main way that food is donated is through ‘Supermarket Collections’. These collections engage the public at supermarkets where they are met by volunteers who give them a ‘foodbank shopping list’ and ask them to buy an extra item with their shop, which is then donated to the food bank.
Individuals can also donate non-perishable food to a Foodbank Centre. In our area 16 local churches are working together to ensure that people who are at the point of crisis have their Immediate food needs met.
When I arranged to meet volunteers at the foodbank I took some supplies with me, they are thankful for any donations however small.
The volunteers check the food dates and store it in boxes ready to be given to people in need.
People are referred by frontline professionals. Doctors, health visitors and citizens advice bureau staff are amongst those who identify people in crisis and issue them with a food bank voucher.
The clients bring their voucher to a Foodbank centre where it can be exchanged for three days supply of emergency food. Volunteers meet clients over a cup of tea and are able to signpost people to agencies able to solve the longer-term problem.
What I noticed from the start is how welcoming & non-judgemental the volunteers are.
Encouraging people to have a cup of tea and chat while they wait for their food supply which is packed in everyday supermarket carrier bags as to look like a normal shopping trip, making the clients feel as comfortable as possible.
I sat with a couple of people and chatted as we had our tea & biscuits, their stories could be any one of us. A redundancy or illness, missed mortgage payments and high energy bills, constantly playing catch up until one week having no money left for food. It can be emotional, and I felt privileged to have them share their story with me.
As winter approaches remember the Foodbank needs your support, to help support others.
If you would like to donate to a food bank you can find info here