Tell us what you do
We collect and store food, ready to give out to people in crisis. Last year on average we helped 100 people a week and about a third of them were children under the age of 16. People either collect food directly from the church or a support worker will get it for them. We rely on the generosity of donations from individuals, churches, businesses and various other organisations. We partner with front line agencies like the Citizen’s Advice Bureau who support us too.
What is your proudest achievement?
Our best achievement is being able to support people in need which is what we are here for. We help anyone who comes from the door and have always seen them leave with enough food for 3-4 days. There was just one occasion where we very nearly ran out of food on a Friday but luckily it didn’t quite happen.
What is your experience of support received from SCVO (if relevant)?
Excellent. We work with SCVO on the emergency provision network and we are looking at tapping into your expertise for help with funding in the future. It is a brilliant organisation and it is very handy having you right next door!
What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt about working with people in Sandwell?
From our experience of helping support people who cannot afford food, it’s the realisation that this could happen to anyone these days. We sometime use the strapline ‘You are only one pay cheque away from crisis’ which really is true. Even people who are working sometime can’t make ends meet.
What are your plans for the future and some of the challenges you face?
Ultimately we want to close the food bank. This might sound strange at first but if we could get to the stage where no one requires our services any longer than that would obviously be fantastic. This probably won’t happen any time soon though.
In the meantime we would like to continue and expand what we do. We would like to run a dedicated centre, like a one stop shop that people in need could use. Ideally this would be run by trained volunteers or even paid staff who could give advice and sign post people to get help. Getting the funding for this would be a challenge though.
How can SCVO help to support your organisation in the future?
Just by being there. We like knowing that SCVO are just a phone call away and can provide ad-hoc support when we need it.
If you would like to donate food to the bank then please contact Keith Turner on 0121 580 0068