Gloucester Foodbank

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Nearer to home – Gloucester Food Bank

 While collecting for a Bosnia based children’s charity one of the collectors was asked “What are you doing for hungry children here?” His response was to provide emergency food help from his garden shed! Hence the food bank movement started in a shed in Salisbury in the year 2000, and the need convinced those involved to continue. In 2004 the movement went national, and the slogan “every town should have one” was born. Gloucester was one of the first, opening in 2005 with the shared aim of providing emergency food aid to disadvantaged/vulnerable people. Since then another 200 have opened from Cornwall to Scotland and Kent to Northern Ireland. It is estimated that, to meet the aim of having one in every town, some 750 are needed so there is a long way to go.

Why Gloucester?

Government statistics show that 5 Gloucester neighbourhoods are in the top 10% income deprived in England and about 5000 children live in the top 3, while 25% of families rely on means tested benefits.

To operate we need about 16 tonnes of food each year, supplied mostly by Churches, Schools and collections outside Supermarkets. On the distribution side some 70 agencies hold our vouchers to give to those who meet the criteria. Vouchers are exchanged for sufficient food to provide balanced meals for 3 days. In most cases this covers the emergency but sometimes longer support is needed and up to 3 vouchers can be issued. This helps to prevent dependency and prompts the agency to find a lasting solution. We do ask what is happening if 3 vouchers are issued and send monthly reports to the government highlighting problems.

How can you help? We need non-perishable food. We need money, about £17,000 a year to operate. We need volunteers, from supermarket collectors to Directors there are jobs that need doing. Don’t forget Jesus said “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25 v 40) and this is a great way of directly helping those brothers and sisters.

Thank you for your support.

Phil Rodford. Operations Director, Gloucester Food Bank.

Powerpoint presented at our Global Mission weekend in June (download)

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