Foodbanks- Are they working?
The Trussell Trust / Foodbank network is a non-profit, charitable organisation that distributes food to those who have difficulty purchasing enough food to avoid hunger. The Trussell Trust is a strong network of foodbanks which help to give food to people all over the UK. Even though some may say that people can become over-reliant on foodbanks, foodbanks aim to have a long-lasting effect on people and they try to make people become independent.
When I visited The Well Foodbank in Farnworth, I was surprised to see the large volume of people that came for help. However, I also appreciated the help and aid they received from the volunteers there, as well as the specialists (doctors and social workers). I then understood, that the Foodbanks ensure that those who needed food from the Foodbanks, were healthy, and they made sure that any problems such as financial problems were tried to be fixed. This is proving that they are trying to stop people from becoming over-reliant. Not only this, but I was also informed that visitors may only come three times in six months, showing that they are trying to minimise the dependency people have on Foodbanks. I saw the gratitude and thankfulness people portrayed on their faces, which also made me appreciate the Foodbanks, as they seemed to be helping people vastly. When I visited the back room in the building, I saw how much effort and hard work was put in by the volunteers there. They portioned the foods into sufficient amounts, depending on the family size, and they kept a record of the number of people that came and how often (showing their organisational skills). During my visit to the Foodbank, I was surprised to be informed that they also held cookery classes, maths classes and English classes. They said that they were trying to reduce the reliance people hold for Foodbanks. Truthfully, I was thankful that there were people in our community, like the volunteers, who gave up their time to help people. This inspired me to help out in a food collection myself in Tesco.
In October, I went with The Well Foodbank to Farnworth Tesco to collect food. While I was there, I met one of the volunteers who, I was shocked to discover, was suffering from drug addiction. He had previously been to the Foodbank for help. The staff at the Foodbank had helped him, which had then resulted in him deciding to volunteer himself so that he could give back to the community. I was truly inspired by this, and this shows, yet again, that Foodbanks really do help people. We must remove the stigma placed with the Foodbank word, and welcome people to the Foodbank, especially if it can make a difference in their lives.
We can all support Foodbanks with small gestures, such as donating food. Types of food in a parcel include: cereal, soup, pasta, rice, tinned meat, sugar, tinned vegetables, tea/coffee, tinned fruit, biscuits and chocolate. Some non-food items that you can donate are: toiletries – toilet paper, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste and hand wipes; household items – laundry powder, washing up liquid, liquid detergents; and baby supplies – nappies, baby wipes and baby food.
If you feel that you could make a donation, then you can drop these items off at the Foodbanks that are in Farnworth and Kearsley which are: The Well (Farnworth), Wharton and Cleggs Lane Church and Community Centre and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Centre. People can also drop off any donations to The Well Monday – Friday 9.30 – 3.30pm.
It would also be good to have some extra volunteers for The Well Foodbank supermarket collections.
On the website https://farnworthkearsley.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-food/ there is more information about dropping off food (eg. you can do so at The Well on Monday – Friday, 9.30am – 3.30pm) as well as volunteering.
And finally, if you do decide you can get involved in some way, please can you mention this article to the volunteers at the Foodbank when you get in touch with them.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article.
Contributed by Laiba Mirza – on behalf of Year 11 pupils at St. James’s C.E. High School