Meet the Volunteers Behind the Foodbank

by Amy Hawkins

We’ve got all sorts of activities going on here at the FUSE, ROC HQ, and one of the first set up after we moved in was the Partington Foodbank. The foodbank celebrated its 3rd birthday on the 15th January this year and since last April they’ve supplied over 833 emergency food parcels, with over 400 being for children. Sadly, figures have recently been rising as more people living in crisis turn to the foodbank to feed their families.

I spoke to some of the volunteers to find out a bit more about how it all runs and hear their heart for the work they do.

So, tell me a bit about how the foodbank works:

Cheryl (Partington Area Coordinator):

The Partington foodbank is open every Thursday from 10.30am to 12.30pm. Volunteers arrive at 10 am and we get any new donations processed. Donations come from a wide range of places – particular churches across Partington. We don’t know how many clients we’ll get coming in on any day but our busiest week was at Christmas when we had 14 people come in during those 2 hours. We average about 5 people per week. The rollout of universal credit is having a huge knock-on effect – in an ideal world we’d love for people not to need a foodbank – but unfortunately, they do – and we’re here for those people.

Jean: Very often it’s actually social workers coming in if those who need the parcels can’t get here. Bus fares can get really expensive and not everyone comes from Partington. But we welcome whoever comes in, get them a drink and have a chat with them. Sometimes we can also signpost to other support where that’s needed – it’s more than just a foodbank.

Judith: I also volunteer at the warehouse, which is where we store all the food which is distributed to the difference foodbanks across Trafford South. It’s all very well organised and there are people there all the time. There’s a constant turnover to make sure things don’t get left and go out of date and it’s all run by volunteers from the community.

Why did you choose to volunteer for the foodbank?

Cheryl: I was involved from the start and became the area coordinator for Partington. We did an initial recruitment drive in the 4 churches in Partington and now we have volunteers from outside the area and across the community.

Jean: It was asked about in church and I decided that God’s been good to me to give me an extension on my life, so I’ll make good use of the time he’s given me!

 

What impact have you seen the foodbank make to people?

Judith: It’s massive. There’s a stigma often with using a foodbank but if you can help someone get on their feet, or back on their feet, it’s a great thing to do. We need to close those barriers down as I’m sure there are more who would benefit.

Cheryl: It’s the difference between being able to eat and not eating. As a team, we reassure and welcome everyone who walks through the door and they always leave with a smile on their face.

What do you love most about volunteering here?

Jean: You feel you’re helping people when you give them bags of food. It’s a bit like when you go to your mother’s for Sunday dinner – she wants to provide and do it for you!

Judith: The other volunteers are an amazing set of people, it’s so nice to work with them. They give up a lot of time and I wanted to get involved, roll my sleeves up and muck in.

Cheryl: Without this there’s going to be people hungry. What I love most is helping people and making a difference – being there when someone needs you. That sums it up – I love being there and making a difference.

‘Thank you’ to the amazing Partington team – we’re so grateful for what you do and how you love your community.

If you’d like to find out more including how to volunteer, donate or an update on what supplies are currently needed, visit the Trafford South Foodbank Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TraffordSouthFoodbank