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Foodbank

posted 4 Dec 2013, 06:17 by Joshua Monteiro

Foodbank opened its doors to local people in short term crisis at the beginning of November 2011.  In the first year they fed 600 local people.  This year they have already fed three times that number.  Economic austerity, rising bills, unexpected situations and the difficult things that happen in life  have increased significantly leaving people with severe financial problems.

 

 With rising awareness of Foodbank, more people have sought their help and from farther afield.  To satisfy this wider geographical need branches have been opened in Thornbury and Mangotsfield with the support of Churches, schools and volunteers in those areas. 

 

Foodbank has a voucher system following the Trussell Trust model.  Frontline professionals will issue these vouchers to local people that they identify as being in short term difficulties.  The organisations holding vouchers (there are over 100 of them across the 3 areas) include South Glos One Stop Shops, Jobcentre Plus, Citizens’ Advice, Age UK, schools (through their parent support teams), Churches, Health visitors, Doctors, Social workers and other charities, for example British Legion. Foodbank does not judge and only serves clients who have vouchers. 

 

 A voucher will be satisfied with a food parcel of non-perishable food (tins and packets) which will last the family a minimum of 3 days.  They also add bread, spread, toiletries, toilet rolls, washing capsules and pet food if they are available. A client can receive 3 vouchers in any 6 month period.  While the parcel is being ‘assembled’ the front of house volunteers will talk to the client to understand their problems and seek other organisations  to  signpost  the  client  to  for  longer term

support.  In many cases, all they do is listen and show a human face to the clients who are often in despair and embarrassed and feel alone with their problems.  Foodbank try to make clients feel welcome by providing tea/coffee and cake in a warm attractive ‘cafe’ style environment.  Foodbank believe that this is as important as the food parcel. 

 

Many of the volunteers are ’Church’ and Foodbank is a Christian charity and their aim is to show Jesus’ love in action.  The team always begins a session with prayer before the clients come and closes in prayer after they close.  90% of the food is donated by local people through Churches, schools and collections outside supermarkets.

 

There is a strong principle that operation costs should be as low as possible, and that any monies received should be to help the clients through the purchase of food stuffs and other items.  None of the team is paid nor are there expenses.  The warehousing costs the grand sum of £30 a year!!!  The only annual expenses in addition to this are the subscription to membership of Trussell Trust, registration for data protection and public liability insurance.  The total outgoings on running costs amount to less than £700 a year!

There are a number of ways in which we can support this valuable work; help provided compassionately and in the name of Jesus. We can bring food contributions regularly and we can pray for this work. Each month Tyndale provides a lot of food for Foodbank. Thank you! Perhaps we could all also add Foodbank to our prayer lists?

 

Mission Support Group
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