For the last four years I have volunteered at a foodbank which is run from a local church. It started a good few years before I joined, when somebody knocked on the vicar's door and begged for food, as they had not eaten in three days. The vicar raided his larder and produced some food. A few days later, the same person returned with a few others and the queue grew. Over time, the vicar set up a trust and the foodbank was born.
It's main aim is to feed the local homeless, jobless, people of no fixed abode and sofa-surfers, but nobody is turned away. Many feel quite embarrassed to be there in the first place, but you can tell they have no choice. Some are pensioners struggling to survive on a state pension, others have mental health issues, quite a few have lost jobs during the covid pandemic. The foodbank is open for a few hours every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
The vicar, however, recognised that food alone was not the only answer to their problems so has, in addition to the three-weekly food collection days, set up:
- advocacy to advise and help filling in benefit or housing applications
- literacy to help with reading, writing and maths
- clothing to replace torn clothes
- sewing to repair clothes with more life to give
- a cooked two-course meal on the Friday sessions
- a cafe to have a snack and meet friends on the Tuesday and Saturday sessions
- a shower and washing machine for those with no fixed abode