If you’ll forgive the indulgence, today’s article will be a bit of a personal one.
Recently, I visited the Trussel Trust Food Bank on Heaton Road. Beyond being a simply humbling experience, it was a real eye opener today and a testament to the Volunteers from Elim Church who run it.
Though some see them simply as a place for those who are struggling to get help with the bare essentials, truthfully these places are far more. They support the truly desperate in an area with a variety of crippling problems, from homelessness and poverty, to mental health problems and unemployment.
The terrifying truth is that many of us are only one pay cheque from destitution, and with the recent changes in government support for the poor, more and more working families will be nudging that line.
My visit to the Trussel Trust gave me an insight into the great work being done by volunteers to help those in need.
They not only provide help and support to local women’s refuges, but also provide much needed tampons and pads to local schools for the children whose parents cannot afford to buy them. Also for children, they run a campaign to ensure all children are kept warm in winter – Coats For Kids. Every child in need receives a new Coat, Hat, scarf and gloves.
They also provide sustenance to local homeless people who are struggling to simply survive. Long term they are aiming to raise enough to install some simple showers and a laundry. This will enable those with nothing to clean themselves regularly, and simply feel human again. It may seem basic, but it could make the difference between giving up, and managing to work their way off the streets.
One of their most common problems is a lack of shoes and clothing for young men and teens, trainers, hoodies, jeans or joggers and presentable clothing so they have the confidence to go to job interviews and succeed, allowing them to move on with their lives and support themselves.
While the food bank receives a healthy donation of older men’s clothes, the sad truth is that older men tend to avoid the Food Bank as they feel ashamed to ask for charity.
If what you’ve read here has hit you as hard as it hit me, there are some very easy ways to help. If you are strapped for time, simply click this link to donate. Scroll down to the ‘Community projects’ section and click donate – All donations will go directly to the food bank only.
Or if you’d prefer, putting an online order into your supermarket of choice to deliver the exact items you’d wish to donate to the food bank directly, would also be a huge help.
Finally, if you have the time to spare, the food bank is always looking for volunteers to help. I personally can’t think of a more rewarding way to spend some time each week.
Checked and vetted are aiming to help by organising drop-off points, both at our office in Gosforth and at the community centre in Great Park. If you have items you wish to donate, and these locations would be more convenient to drop them off, please do!
Finally, if you would like to attend a meeting with me to see what we can do together to help, please let me know.
To find out more about The Trussell Trust please read here.
Co-Founder Checked and Vetted