Manchester Universities Catholic Chaplaincy
When the idea of starting a foodbank in the Chaplaincy was thought of by the Chaplaincy SVP, it was only an idea. Many of the members of both the Chaplaincy and the SVP did not have much clue about how a foodbank operates in practice. A member of the SVP then found out about the Trussell Trust and the foodbank network they operated.
The Trussell Trust runs a franchise model for helping to create foodbank around the country. They ask for a sign-up fee, followed by an annual payment, in order to a part of their network. On first impressions this did not strike us as something a new charity should have to do. However after several meetings with other Trussell Trust foodbank, we were convinced that it would be worth it.
The major thing you receive after paying the sign-up fee is a 'Foodbank Operating Manual'. This manual provided on a cd, explains every procedure and step to setting up a foodbank. It is so comprehensive that you do not even need previous experience in the charity sector to set up a foodbank. The manual provides information from how to run supermarket food drives to warehouse management to the distribution of food. It even helps with budgeting and health and safety regulations. Without all this information the foodbank most likely would not have been established as quickly as it was.
The Operating Manual is changed and refined every year or two. This is because the Trussell Trust is constantly learning new things as well as adapting to the changing situation of food poverty. The first Trussell foodbank was started in 2002 and the manual documents everything that has been learned since then by all new Trussell foodbanks. A great advantage of this manual also is that it will keep improving as even more foodbanks join in the network.
It also guarantees that no matter which Trussell Trust foodbank you go to in the UK, you will always be provided with the same level of service, from people who all are motivated by the christian ethos of the charity.
This is a resource that ensures that when a foodbank opens they are completely prepared for any situation they may come across and that mistakes are not repeated around the country.
The Manchester Central Foodbank would not be where it was today without this amazing resource provided by the Trussell Trust, along with the continuing support of the charity staff and the national partnerships they help to build. The Trussell Trust does more than provide foodbanks with resources but also is able to unite everyone in knowing they are part of a national effort.
As we are setting up our Foodbank it is clear what a great potential there is for building up Civic Society. Different institutions, religious and secular, can become involved in either as food-collection areas, or as referral agencies. The Trussel Trust who we are registered with, run the largest network of foodbanks in the UK are a Christian Charity but realise that 'food poverty' is not limited to one religion or another, and similarly that it is working with different faith groups tha provides the best and most trusted network.
Their vision is based on words of Jesus as recorded the Gospel of Matthew. 'For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Matthew 25:35-36. This comes from a vision of a last judgement, when we will all be accountable for our actions, particularly to those who are most vulnerable and needy. We show our love through actions more than words..... So get involved, we need 1) prayers 2) volunteers and 3) money. Contact us through this blog - or privately through @foodbank_muscc.
Fr T B SJ