Update from Sarah Bradbury from the Belper Town Chaplaincy, about the Belper Foodbank and support for struggling families

Published Thu, 22/09/2022 by

Dear All

Thank you so much for your donation of £20 this month, and the fantastic £55 from August’s Soup and Pud lunch! It is very much appreciated! 

I have been to Aldi and bought food for struggling families who attend the Food Bank: such as biscuits, tuna, tinned tomatoes, pasta, tinned fruit, toilet rolls… They are very pleased to know that someone cares and that they are not alone. One of the mums was quite tearful about it all. Some people feel quite desperate. I have also collected outdoor jackets and fleeces, and some rucksacks which I have taken to families. One little boy did not have a coat, but now has a warm blue coat from your donations – from the Red Cross shop: it is good to explain to their staff what we are doing to help people.

I have bought a Trespass outdoor coat in as new condition as well, which cost £5 (very expensive new) for a lady who had no coat. She tried it on and it gave her a bit of confidence in herself! Also, a lady who cannot afford pyjamas (she was going to cut up an old duvet cover to make some) now has two pairs of pj bottoms, thanks to you. I went in the bargain area in De Bradelei Mill and found 2 pairs of ex M&S pj bottoms for £2.50 each, 100% brushed cotton with birds and stars designs! It was because they are size 24 oddments, but she can easily take them in. She is very pleased! 🙂 

Iceland staff are very keen to support us and are pleased to see me: I gave them a Thank You card for the staff area. They donated a box full of 35 dinosaur / pink pretty pony themed children’s water bottles for the children, some of which have gone out already. How kind! I have explained to them all the good work that you are doing through your donations. The Iceland staff say that sometimes it is upsetting for them when they see people at the till who can’t afford much. 

I have written an article for our magazine which you may like to read:

Hope for Belper Food Bank and Community Hub:

Thank you so much for all your donations: at the time of writing, collections are building up for the harvest festival! It is much appreciated, as people are having to pull their belts in as you know. Requests for food are up, while donations have been down… 

*Where can people donate? – Strutt Street, Openwoodgate and Whitemoor Co-ops, Iceland and Morrison’s (in the Hope for Belper basket below the racks) as well as in our churches. Please note, Aldi’s food collection is not for the Belper Food Bank.

*Where is the Belper Food Bank? – Belper Baptist Church kindly let us use their space (Bridge Street, next to the Devonshire). It is carpeted, with movable tables and chairs, so it is ideal. They have a big kitchen and hatch, so we provide teas, coffee and biscuits, and something to eat such as beans on toast, or a ham or cheese cob. Sometimes we have a pudding such as fruit crumble and custard, which always goes down a treat!

*When is the Food Bank? – 

Every Tuesday and Friday, 12 until 2. Volunteers come in earlier if they need to. We have many willing volunteers from our churches and from the community, who all get a DBS (safeguarding) check. Our project manager, Jo Lambourne, does the volunteers rota, and is always full of enthusiasm. 

*What do volunteers do? – There are different tasks available, depending on what people feel comfortable doing. All food gets dated, ie we write 05/23 or whatever on top of the can in permanent marker, for example, so that whoever is sorting food can see the date quickly and easily. Some of the pupils from Holbrook School for Autism have done this, with a helper. Great! 

Volunteers could be a ‘chatter’ – many people who come in are lonely or worried. Or you could hide in ‘the cupboard’ food store room: food parcels need making up into bags. You could bring people tea or coffee – a bit like at church! 

*Who can get a food parcel? – when people visit for the first time, we ask them to get a referral. This could be from social services, or through the job centre Universal Credit journal. People are in genuine need and can be quite distressed, such as never having been out of work before, or with illness or bereavement in the family, and growing bills of course… 

*Is it true that Citizen’s Advice visit the Food Bank? Yes, this is a Drop In for anyone, in privacy behind a screen. If you then need a longer appointment, that can be arranged too. People find it very helpful.

*What else happens? – We have quite a few Ukrainians who visit, as it is a place where they can meet other Ukrainians and chat, and they can also ask us something that they are puzzled about. We used to have Sunflower Club for them, straight after the Food Bank on a Tuesday, so they are used to visiting for a cup of tea.

Sometimes people donate clothes for me to sort out, so we can look after people’s needs. The recent donations of outdoor jackets and fleeces have been very much appreciated. Someone gave me 31 plain white ‘as new’ dinner plates, so they went straight up to the halfway house for the homeless, Chevin House.

Iceland foods gave me a great sack full of bread rolls that were short date, so they went to Chevin House too. 

People have also been donating fruit and veg from their allotments too, such as rhubarb, courgettes, lettuce, apples and pears. This has been great, although our usual donations are all non perishables, such as tinned meat and fish, cereal, biscuits, tinned fruit, sponge puddings, tinned veg and potatoes, custard and toiletries including deodorant, shampoo and toilet rolls.

The photo shows food bought from donations from Our Lady’s for me to buy food for the emergency food cupboard stocks for Chevin House, which is easy for the lads to cook and cheers them up. 

*We are saving up for Christmas, as we will need to provide a lot of hampers for families this year. 

Thank you for your interest, care, donations and prayers! 💙🙏

Sarah Bradbury

Belper Town Chaplaincy 

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