13th July 2020
THE LAMP FOOD BANK
The Lamp Foodbank opened on Thursday 4 July 2019 at the Brownhills Community Centre (The Lamp). It has been an amazing year!
The Lamp Food Bank is part of the Black Country Food Bank (BCFB) which the central office is based in Brierley Hill. BCFB operates out of 23 Distribution Centres (foodbanks) across the Black Country; Walsall, Sandwell and Dudley. Since it began in 2006, BCFB has been responsible for issuing 1,644,050 meals. The most recent figures have seen 260,520 of those meals provided to those in need in 2019.
The Lamp has a dedicated team of volunteers who work under the inspirational guidance of Melissa Pearce, our Children and Family Worker.
We are open from 11am to 1pm every Thursday. We have the use, free of charge, of the cafe at the Community Centre. The Community Centre created for us several secure cupboards in which we store our stock.
To receive support an applicant must hold a voucher issued by any one of a number of bodies including the Job Centres, Local Primary Schools, Churches, GP’s Surgeries and many other voluntary organisations.
Each voucher entitles its holder to support for three days. We have lists which indicate the items to be given. These lists vary depending on the size of the household of the applicant. The volunteers then put together the items which are to be taken and the items are weighed before being handed over.
Mel records the information about each applicant on the BCFB computer system. This information is examined by BCFB staff so that people who are making claims that are not justified can be identified and stopped from making further claims.
The BCFB operates under extremely strict guidelines which protect all those involved, volunteers, donors and voucher holders.
It has been a real privilege to be partnered with BCFB.
I have been amazed by the tremendous generosity of so many people businesses and other organisations. We are very well supported by members of the Christian Community in Brownhills. Until the present Covid 19 Crisis we collected weekly substantial donations from a local supermarket.
Since the current Covid-19 crisis started, we have been given very substantial donations by local businesses and organisations. At the moment, these donations are stacked in the theatre in the Community Centre.
The enthusiasm shown by our volunteers is amazing. These ladies manage the stock. Everything that is donated has to be weighed in. The volunteers then date each item. The stock is then stacked in date order.
When a claimant comes in their entitlement is checked normally by Mel. Any special needs are noted. The volunteers work efficiently to create the parcels.
We can never predict how many voucher holders we will see each week.
It is heart breaking that a country as wealthy as ours has to have food banks and not just during the present pandemic. The upside is that this need has inspired so many people to donate and/or volunteer.
Through the involvement of Mel Pearce across the community and in the Food Bank the profile of the Church continues to rise within the disparate communities that make up our parish. Two passages from the Bible spring to my mind. First in the last few verses of the Gospel of Matthew is the great commission from Jesus to the 11 disciples “go and make disciples of all nations” The important word is “go.”
The second is in the Epistle of James. The final verse of chapter 2 reads “As the body without the spirit is dead so faith without deeds is dead”.
The Lamp Food Bank fulfils both quotes. We, that is the Food Bank, go out into the Community and the work of those from the Fellowship is putting “faith into action”.
We face a long journey until we have a society where food banks are not needed. Please therefore support the project in whatever way you can.