What a hectic 8 weeks!
It has been in the back of mind that I hadn't written a new blog in almost 2 Months. And this is do the very busy start the foodbank has had in the new academic year.
In this time we had a major recruiting drive for new volunteers in fresher's weeks for both the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan. This was followed by a training session for all our new volunteers the week after as well as a lot of work to get the foodbank ready to open. In addition the fact that we are the first student-run foodbank in the UK has attracted a lot of attention in the local media, which proved very helpful in raising awareness of the foodbank and how we can help people. This was all before we were able to officially open our doors to clients!
We have just finished our fifth week of officially being open and this week was also the first week in which we were open for two days. A very large number of agencies and charities who work with those close to food poverty have been constantly getting in touch with us requesting to become referral partners. This has shown that in Manchester there is a very real demand for the service we provide. Since we have opened we have helped give food to 50 people (23 Children and 27 Adults), who have all been referred to us by frontline professionals. Helping this many people means we have distributed 261.9kg of food! All volunteers agree they were surprised at the range of people who have walked through our doors as well as the wide variety of crises we have heard that can cause food poverty. Sadly we foresee the demand to only increase in the months ahead and we are always looking for new volunteers to sign up and help out. (Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested!)
Since opening our doors the work at the foodbank has begun to settle into a more predictable rhythm. Volunteers are now getting a better idea of what they can do and how they can best go about helping those in crisis, but this does not mean we should rest on our laurels. A foodbank is a project uniquely suited to the needs of the local community. This is because of the proximity of the bank itself as well as the flexibility we have with a dedicated team of volunteers who all truly want to help others. We must therefore be on always looking out for new opportunities to better serve those in crisis and the community as a whole. The foodbank is a collaborative effort and the input of every volunteer is equally important to ensuring the foodbank continues to operate successfully.
Anyway, I hope to begin writing these blogs more frequently again so please keep checking if you want to keep up-to-date on what's going on at the foodbank!