Beryl Bellew is a founding volunteer at the North Liverpool Foodbank. This month, she explains how the generosity of Liverpool keeps the foodbank serving the community…
Throughout my time at Foodbank I never ceased to be amazed at the generous giving by individuals in the community and by corporate organisations, whether it be food, financial or other kinds support.
This giving has continued even during periods of austerity and in the pandemic. So much so that we have needed to expand our central storage facilities. We never know what’s next! A couple of weeks ago, a lady popped in to see us and handed me a cheque. She represented a local organisation that was relocating and closing down its employees’ social club. The staff had very generously decided to donate the proceeds from the sale of equipment to the Foodbank.
And in that same week, our Community Network was presented with the surprise gift of a new van! A much-needed replacement to enable our logistics team to collect and deliver food across North and South Liverpool. The donor is one of our corporate sponsors who have been regularly donating canned meat for a number of years.
We also have a couple of new volunteers and they are settling in well. One lady texted me after her first session with us: “Thank you. I loved helping today. It has given me a spring in my step.”
Sadly we will say goodbye to Meg this month. She’s just finished at the university and is moving on to further her studies. She’s one of the few people who were able to continue volunteering with us right throughout the lockdown and was a real asset. We’ll miss her.
Chatting to some of our visitors it’s clear that many are still feeling the impact of Covid. Good news for one person who was able to return to his job in the hospitality industry but delays in his Universal Credit and wages meant he needed to access Foodbank until all that is sorted out. Another told me that she had not been able to manage financially when on furlough and as a lone parent with two young children and mounting debts she had been referred to Foodbank. A number of support workers have also been calling in to collect food on behalf of their clients who have to self-isolate.
Finally, last month I became aware that one of our elderly Pantry members needed support to access help with getting central heating installed. A referral to our welfare and benefits specialist resulted in his application for central heating being submitted to Healthy Homes; it was approved and the heating is now installed! He is one very happy gent!