Today I started volunteering at the local Food Bank, or Banc Bwyd as it is known in Welsh.
From what I have seen of food banks in the big cities my local one is rather a low key affair.
The population of the town and surrounding catchment area is only about 3,000. There is certainly some unemployment and poverty in the area but it is quite well ‘contained’ so the ‘clients’ for the food bank are measured only in handfuls each week at most.
The foodbank is only open for business 3 days a week, staffed by a rota of volunteers mainly drawn from local churches.
I have just become one of the volunteers and today was my induction day. I will mainly be ‘on call’ for the food bank on Wednesdays.
When I am on call I will get a phone call when I client want to come to collect a supply of food. Then I have an hour to go to the supermarket to pick up sufficient bread, milk, spread, fresh fruit and vegetables according to the size of the client’s family and whether they have children or not.
Then I take the fresh goods back to the food bank HQ to make up the rest of the ‘food parcel’. The aim is to supply enough food for 3 meals for 3 days.
The food parcel is made up mainly of tinned and dried food, pasta, tinned meat meals, cereals, tea, coffee etc according to a prescribed menu structure. Parcels also include toilet rolls, toothpaste, soap, sanitary towels.
[This is not a photo of the current food bank supplies – it is about ten times more than this now.]
Clients (people needing food) are not allowed to contact the Food Bank directly – they have to be referred by one of the ‘agencies’ both third sector and local authority. Each agency is initially given 10 vouchers to use for people in need.
A client is only allowed a maximum of three food parcels in succession to cover any difficult, emergency situations. This is commonly when their benefit payments have been delayed. Then the agencies are supposed to have sorted out their situations.
The Food Bank has plenty of food. It is also has plenty of money from donations.
One of its biggest problems is ensuring the food stock gets rotated so the oldest is always used first. That is real prepper territory!
Alas no clients came today but it was fascinating to see how this food bank operates.
I see all things nowadays through steem-tinted spectacles – but I am so far struggling to see any steem angle on a food bank.
I suspect there is but I just need to think this through a bit harder.
Just for interest I saw this recent article in a leading British newspaper about food banks…
On the way home from the food bank I visited another local charity who are going to make use of a dozen leverarch files I no longer need.
Steem did slip into the conversation and they are keen to sign up.
That has given me a whole new idea.
But it is 3am now so that will have to wait for my next post…