“We make sure people leave with hope.” – Tracy, Christchurch Food Bank+ Manager
Tracy, the Christchurch Food Bank+ (CFB+) Manager, has a very long list of difficult situations at the moment. Tracy and the team meet individuals and families who are experiencing hard times beyond their control.
There are still many who come to the Food Bank just once to get themselves through an emergency, like an unexpected bill for a broken down car or a sick child. But there are an increasing number of stories where the monthly income will not stretch to the end of the month.
Tracy gives this recent example: “We have a single mum, she has 3 jobs and works really hard, but the cost of living crisis means she needs to come for food regularly. Yesterday she messaged me in desperation as she is going to be short for her rent this month as the cost of everything else rises and her wages don’t.
We are taking her food and hardship money (to put on the electric card) and making an appointment for her to come in and meet with our Community Money Advice (CMA) team”.
This is a great example of the driving force which motivates Tracy, Sarah her Deputy Manager, Lucy in the office and the team of incredible volunteers at Christchurch Food Bank+. They want to make sure that people who come to the Food Bank leave with hope – real, practical hope.
What people receive is more than just a bag of food and a leaflet with a number to ring for more help. The whole experience at St. Joe’s Life Centre is so welcoming. There is a café style table and chairs, children’s pictures on the subject of hope around the edge of the room and someone to welcome you with a cuppa and an opportunity to talk.
As people share their story, the team seek immediate action. For example, they might encourage people to have an immediate chat with the Faithworks CMA Budget Coach who is onsite. The goal is always to walk alongside people for however long it takes to rebuild resilience, so that they do not need to return.
The benefits of the support people receive are tangible. One gentleman who came in to the Food Bank had just been rehoused with his children following domestic violence. The team realised that his new accommodation was almost bare, so they arranged a delivery from the CFB+ Furniture Bank.
He spoke with the CMA team and they helped him to regain control of his finances. The team reassured him that there would be a food parcel available when needed. They also invited him and his family to the fortnightly meal at Godfirst Church, so that the family could once again feel part of a community. He left with his head up, shoulders back and Hope once more.
Demand at the Food Bank has increased 200% from 2021. As the team of staff and volunteers approach this most challenging of winters they have come up with new ideas to help people help themselves: a ‘Meal in a Bag’ (a recipe plus the exact ingredients needed to make it) – this week’s was Gammon in diet cola followed by peach and raspberry upside cake!, slow cookers for those without other means of cooking, and a ‘Warm Bag’ with practical ideas for getting through the winter, such as foil to put behind the radiator, socks, hot water bottles, a blanket, fingerless gloves, energy saving light bulbs and helpful tips to compare the cost of different ways of cooking a meal. More ideas will be shared as Christmas approaches.
However long the list of people in need locally, the Christchurch Food Bank+ team will be there to ensure people leave with Hope for Today. Watch Tracy’s video below to find out more.
We need your support – there are two practical ways you can support Christchurch Food Bank+
- Set up regular donations through the giving page below
- Download the BanktheFood App by Mustard Technologies from Google Play or the Apple Store
Christchurch Food Bank+ is supported by local Christian charity, Faithworks, and is an active part of the Access to Food Partnership in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.