Jen Rawling recently visited the S6 Foodbank and tells us about it here:
As a church, we love the community that we live in. As part of this love for those around us, we recently decided to start supporting the S6 Food Bank. It is part of the Trussell Trust, and exists with the purpose of 'helping people in crisis'. It is able to provide food packages to people from the local area who, for a variety of reasons, are struggling to feed themselves and their family. We were invited along to find out more about how it works, and came away incredibly impressed.
The Food Bank is open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11am-1pm, so I turned up one Friday at the end of August with Chris and Caroline, ready to see how it works. We were quickly welcomed by the volunteers there, and made to feel like part of a team. Before opening, the volunteers were divided into two teams: those to sit at tables, and those to collect the food packages. It wasn't long before a steady stream of people in need of food started to arrive. As they came through the door, with their referral slips in hand, they were directed to a table. At that point, they were offered a hot drink before the volunteers at the table went through a 'shopping list' to see what food and toiletries they needed that week. When the list was complete, it was held in the air for the food packaging team to collect.
The food packers then disappeared with the list to the store room, and filled shopping bags with the requested items. Meanwhile, the table volunteers were able to have a chat with those who had arrived in need of food: about the weather, their weeks, their background, the various community events that were being organised... until the food packers returned with their week's food.
The sense of community that this format gave was inspiring. Everyone who came through the door was shown love through the way they were spoken to as well as the through the practical support that they were given. This is an incredibly simple and effective way of supporting those in crisis on our door steps. Sadly, the Food Bank is often short of, or runs out of, particular items. This is where we come in! There is a collection box in the office on Howard Road for you to bring non-perishable food items or toiletries. If you want to know what our local Food Bank needs each week, there is a free app you can download from Google Play / the Apple Store. The box will be available at any point that you are in the office, with the monthly prayer meeting offering a regular focus point for donations.