When I was hungry, you gave me food……..
A huge thank you from us for all the generous donations.
During the church service on the 26th, David and I had a Q&A session which I thought I’d include (not word for word) in the magazine.
How the foodbank started:
The foodbank was started in April 2014. Although the Salvation Army (SA) already provided food for people as part of their mission they had a desire to develop the foodbank as there was an increase in demand, and also as a way to put in place a central location for people to get to as a matter of safety and being able to provide more resources.
Do they foresee the foodbank coming to an end:
The number of people using the foodbank has increased over time due to various reasons such as the withdrawal of some benefits or personal circumstances. Unfortunately they do not foresee the end for the foodbank, this is because the foodbank is used by a variety of people such as those who are in short and long term work difficulties, those who have been trafficked, and those with mental health issues. Using the latter group as an example, they will likely need assistance on an ongoing basis, as the foodbank also serves to signpost and guide people to additional facilities that may be of benefit to them.
What is done with the donations:
Food donations are pre-packed into bags with a view of providing the essentials, and is also based on the size of the family. When the clients arrive to collect, they are then asked what personal or individual items they need such as razors, baby food, sanitary items and specific dietary food. Whilst some of these items are donated by individuals, it may not be on a regular basis in comparison to say, rice or pasta. This is where the SA leader will then fill in the gap by buying the necessary items including bread, butter, fresh fruits and juices. They do not necessarily expect donators to give these items as they have a short shelf life, but they do appreciate the financial donations they can get in order to get these things on a regular basis. In addition, there are instances where people may have been placed in a new accommodation and do not have amenities such as a microwave or a mattress for a baby’s cot, so these will have to be purchased by the SA. Note that the SA will do their best to source as many items from donators but there are instances where pre-loved items cannot be given to others (a mattress). Whilst the foodbank works to give food to those in need, it works with compassion and so are mindful to give what the general person would want, and not items that have been sitting in the back of the cupboard, and are very appreciative that they do not get a load of these.
How do they feel the withdrawal of the additional £20 universal credit will impact people:
Due to COVID restrictions, the helpers at the foodbank have not been able to sit down and chat with people as they had done in previous years as they come in to get their packages. However, looking at people who have come in over time, there may not be significant direct impact as it generally takes a massive change to a person’s lifestyle (such as loss of employment, loss of a provider) for them to come to the foodbank in the first place, but they will be keeping an eye on how things shape over time.
Monetary donations can be made through our JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/newaddingtonsalvationarmy. The Vine is located in Salcot Crescent New Addington CR0 0JJ. We are down a narrow driveway between houses 11 and 13, next to Tharreo House school. Please note our donations delivery times; Tuesday evenings 7-8pm, and Saturday mornings 9-10am.