The Well – Nov ’23
In this month’s article, the focus is on our food bank. For those of you that don’t know, our food bank ‘popped-up’ during the first lockdown of the pandemic. Remember that?!
A group of us came together to support local people that were isolating due to being unwell or because of an underlying medical condition, were struggling financially or had no support network.
Our café was of course closed, so it operated from there initially. A while later premises became available right next door, and the timing couldn’t have been better.
So, the food bank moved next door and carried on supporting local people in need, as we came out of the other side of the pandemic. But the reason people needed support was changing. The ‘cost-of-living’ crisis was starting to bite and we were seeing fuel costs soar and inflation outstrip wages. Even people in full-time employment were feeling the pinch and had to come to us for help.
Leicester South Food Bank
To make sure that our food bank could sustain itself and meet the needs of local people, we became a ‘hub’ of Leicester South Food Bank (LSFB). Our partnership with them has been invaluable. LSFB is part of the Trussell Trust network of food banks across the UK. We remain an independent food bank, which allows us to more closely tailor our service to those in need.
It’s not always easy for someone to admit they’re struggling and reach out and seek help. Many are proud and fiercely independent, as well as very anxious. It only takes a month or two for households to move quickly from managing to finding themselves in debt and doing their best to make ends meet. It only takes the car to break down, washing machine to pack-up or main income stream to be interrupted for things to change. Potentially, it could happen to any of us.
As the days shorten and the temperatures start to drop, we’re already seeing an increase in demand. During October we issued over 40 food parcels to local households in Kibworth and surrounding villages.
The approach that we take is that we are giving people a hand-up, not a handout. We work with several other charities and agencies to offer free wraparound services. The idea is to find ways to help people move away from needing a food bank. These services are available to everyone – not just users of the food bank. Go to our website to find out more www.thewellkibworth.org/activities
How can you help?
If you can help us with donations of food, you can find out what we need by downloading the Bank the Food app to your mobile. It tells you, in real time, our most needed items and the locations of baskets where items can be dropped off. There are collection baskets in all the local schools and Co-ops. You can also log your donations to keep a tally of your donations. Simply go to www.bankthefood.org to download the app.
If you’re in need support from our food bank, call the Citizens Advice ‘Help Through Hardship’ helpline on 0808 208 2138. They can raise a voucher for you to exchange at our food bank for emergency food. Alternatively, you can be referred to us directly by a school, healthcare (GP/health visitor etc) professional, social worker, support worker or another charity/agency that is providing you with support. To find out more, go to www.leicestersouth.foodbank.org.uk