Ever wondered, “What am I doing here?”
“Why has it happened to me?”, well it could be that ‘it’ or ‘here’ is for such a time as this ….
Our name just happens to be Black Country Foodbank but it’s probably the strap-line underneath that is more descriptive of us.
The book of Esther tells the story of a frightened young lady, who when her people were in trouble was in the right place at the right time to be able to intervene. I think BCFB is just like that young lady; privileged to be in place at the right time to be able to act on behalf of our community.
A couple of weeks ago, I just happened to be at The Storehouse, two children’s workers came in to get help for a desperate family. The five children had been saved from going in to ‘care’ by a member of the extended family taking them in, however their new family was struggling to clothe and provide for the extra children while all the financials were being sorted. One of the volunteers and I were able to sort and provide; five sets of clothing, bedding, towels, food and toiletries. For such a time as this family were going through….
One lady who came to The Storehouse last week looking for help (we don’t encourage clients to visit that site, just the project workers), she didn’t want food just advice and a shoulder to cry on. Middle-aged, single mum of two older teenagers, well presented, articulate and homeless! Her and her boys were ‘sofa-surfing’, each in a different place with extended family and friends. Could we find her somewhere to live – no, but we were able to offer hope in the form of genuine hospitality and one phone call to potentially the right person. She wouldn’t accept our offer of food and toiletries as she “could manage”. She left us smiling with the sight of a “bit of light at the end of a very dark tunnel”.
By the time you read this sweeping Welfare Reforms will have gone live across the country, here in the Black Country we’re trying our best to address some of the additional needs that have arisen already but we can’t do it on our own. We’re partnering not only with our community on a very local basis but also with our regional local authorities to deliver the social fund replacement in the most fair, dignified and accountable way we can.
Are we always going to get it just right; I doubt it, but we’ll have fun trying. I had one of those spontaneous shopping moments recently when I spotted a sign that said, “We don’t make mistakes, we do variations!”, of course I had to buy it and I stuck it up in the Storehouse for the volunteers so that they know we’re never going to get it right every time but we keep trying!
There’s been so much in the media in the last few weeks about ministries like ours not being a dignified or empowering method of helping people in crisis. Who’d have thought this would be raised at UN level;
“A top United Nations official has warned that the explosion of British people relying on foodbanks could represent a human rights abuse.
The UK’s food poverty crisis, marked by a tenfold increase in the use of foodbanks since the start of the recession, attracted the attention of Olivier de Schutter, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
Schutter reminded the Government of its “duty to protect” the basic human right to an adequate diet at a talk in London.” read the Independent’s full article here
Makes me wonder why we’re here; but only sometimes! W