All Saints’ Church Hartford
Hartford, Huntingdon. PE29 1XP
Revd Geoff Boucher
on 01480 461846
The Church by the River
Welcome to our summer 2014 update.
This time last year, we were anticipating a huge increase by the end of 2013 in the use of the food bank. This was to prove correct. Fortunately our predictions based on our data collection meant that we were ready and able to meet the need. By the end of 2013 we had given away 10 tonnes of food in hampers. This was a threefold increase on the previous year.
We were able to do this because of the generosity of so many people regularly giving gifts of both food and money to the food bank.
In the autumn term of 2013 many local schools collected food at their harvest festival assemblies and donated a huge amount of tins, packets and cartons to our store.
The supermarket collections also brought in a generous amount of food, both with the national weekend collections which happen several times a year and the permanent collection points based in stores.
Many small local businesses and shops now have collection points, and we continue to receive regular donations from individual groups such as the W.I., Brampton Befrienders, churches and other community groups; the list goes on!
THANK YOU SO MUCH TO ALL OF YOU!
For Christmas 2013, we prepared in the region of 90 hampers which went out to needy families in the area, mainly nominated by the various agencies with whom we work. This was almost double the numbers of hampers provided at Christmas 2012 and we estimate that these 90 hampers comprised a total 3+ tonnes of food over and above the 10 tonnes already mentioned.
We had a huge team of hard-
One of our team met a hamper recipient a few weeks later who explained how much of a difference the hamper had made to her and her family at a time of need, when there was no money; she knew that someone else had cared enough to do something.
So that brings us into 2014 (and of course as we are half way to Christmas, the hamper planning has begun already!)
In the first six months of this year, we gave out 220 food parcels feeding 465 children and adults. We have weighed in over 5,000kg of food, most of which has been donated. (We use money donations to purchase items that are low in stock.)We have given out nearly 7,000kg of food in that time; once again we can see that the need continues to rise.
We started our ‘open house’ sessions (10.00am to 2.00pm, Mondays and Thursdays) in February 2013 and well over a year on from that, we decided to look back at the highlights and challenges we have faced. Our team of volunteers has grown substantially, numbering about twenty regular individuals, enabling us to run the open house sessions, manage the stock room and cover the huge amount of admin that is involved. This has fostered new friendships within the team, and allowed the individual skills of volunteers to be shared such as giving money advice, helping clients to complete forms etc. Most importantly we regularly pray together about the clients we have seen, and for God to work in their situations.
Volunteers have also had the opportunity to attend speaking engagements, school assemblies and interviews on local radio-
We now have contact with 55 agencies that are voucher holders and refer clients to us. Our voucher system now means that every voucher is individually numbered so that we can accurately log our data and track our local statistics. This information is then included in the Trussell Trust’s national data collection. As the leading provider of food banks in the UK, the Trust continues to lobby for social changes where needed.
Most recently, the summer Tesco national collection over the first weekend in July brought in 1,829.9 kg of food. We were joined by many extra volunteers for this very successful collection and we thank them all, as well as Tesco and all the customers who donated so very thoughtfully and generously.
We received a generous donation of £250 from the St Barnabas Furniture Project to whom we had sign posted clients over time. We would like to thank them for this gift.
St Barnabas Furniture Project operated for over 15 years with the aim of providing low cost furniture to those who would otherwise not be able to afford such items. Working across the whole of Huntingdonshire, the project collected furniture and household goods from donors and then made them available in its warehouse. Sadly, despite the uncertain economic times, the number of people buying from the project fell to such a level that it was no longer able to cover its costs. St Barnabas Furniture Project closed in January 2014 with the remaining assets of the trust being distributed to charities seeking to aid those in crisis in our community.
As a group of volunteers we continue to have the privilege of being able make a difference in the lives of people in crisis in our community by providing food parcels, lending a listening ear and seeking to direct them to help if they are not already receiving it. We now work closely with HAMA (Huntingdon Area Money Advice) which gives friendly and free professional debt management advice serving the community.
If you would like any further information or to enquire about volunteering
please visit our website: http://godmanchester.foodbank.org.uk
Thank you so much for your support
Godmanchester Food Bank Steering Group
Godmanchester food bank is run by Godmanchester Baptist Church supported by other local churches.
Registered charity No: 1089263
Thank you to everyone at All Saints’ Hartford for your generous and regular donations to the food bank and thanks to Elaine for delivering them.
The food bank is distributing Christmas hampers this week to 150 people who have been referred to us because they are very close to needing our support – just to put something of a smile into their Christmas.
These hampers are in addition to our normal client base.
Thank you again for supporting local people in need.