We asked Terry, one of our volunteers at Wesley Church in Chester who has been with us since the very beginning, to reflect on the development and experiences of West Cheshire Foodbank over this time.
“Five Years helping at Foodbank!
I was taken aback last October to realise that Foodbank in West Cheshire had been operating for 5 years and I had been involved from the start. I clearly recall being at an introductory meeting at Wesley Chester in summer 2012 when a woman from Trussell Trust explained why Food bank was needed and what it involved. Plans were being made to start Foodbank in Chester and Ellesmere Port and I just had to put my name down to volunteer at Wesley in Chester. We had a training day and started in [October 2012]. I remember waiting on the first afternoon to see if anyone would come in – and some did. We were in business.
Looking back over those 5 years my first thought is one of thankfulness that we have been able to give food to so many people who were without food, largely due to benefit issues or living on low income and paying a bill left them without money for food. It is of great concern that this is necessary: but at present it certainly is!
My second thought is another thankfulness for all those who have donated food so that we have always been able to provide food to people who came to us with vouchers needing food: a modern day miracle of so many generous people giving because of their great concern for those in need.
Another delight is that I have been privileged to meet a variety of people over those 5 years (including fellow volunteers) and had some really good conversations helping people through the process of seeking food in difficult circumstances. For many it is not easy to come in and ask for food: some feel quite ashamed.
It is also so good to see new ventures such as ‘Meet, Greet and Eat’ where where Foodbank recipients can learn new skills and share in a group situation where self esteem can grow with a good measure of fun included.
It seems that Foodbanks will be needed for some time yet: new volunteers are coming forward and in West Cheshire we have a great
organisation to provide for people in a crisis with not enough money for food.”