“The Christmas Food Collection for Braintree Foodbank is done in conjunction with Tesco. I arrived at Tesco Marks Farm in Braintree and was greeted by the foodbank leader for the shift, Maggie, the Administrator/Co-ordinator for the Braintree Area Foodbank, and a couple of other volunteers.  I was given a tabard to wear, supplied with foodbank shopping lists, and got to work straight away!

I had only given out a couple of leaflets and a gentleman came over with a trolley full of baked beans, kidney beans and tomatoes and said “that should help you out.” Trying to fight back the tears, I thanked him for his kind donation and explained that this would help out so many people.

Our remit was to approach customers and greet them and ask if they are willing to donate and receiving food donations; while ensuring that everyone is personally thanked. The foodbank leader explained how users can access the foodbank by getting referred by various organisations, including Greenfields, who will give out a voucher for a minimum of three-days-worth of non-perishable food. The Supermarket Collections are held on various times of the year, including Easter, Harvest Festival and Christmas, but you can donate any time by using the foodbank collection buckets in any supermarket!

We were receiving donations every few minutes from members of the public. Some were donating one or two items, or several items, but it seemed that even people who didn’t seem to have much to spare themselves wanted to donate.

I spoke to a lovely lady called Sam who had two small children and was referred by her health visitor to the foodbank last year after her partner left her and she was struggling. She used the service several times and was so grateful that she purchased toiletries and was glad to give something back. Another lady I spoke to was currently using the foodbank after her partner left her with young children. She said she couldn’t live without it and it was a lifeline.

A truly heartwarming, overwhelming day, which made me realise there are some good people in the world and I’m grateful for everything I have.”

Learn more about Braintree Area Foodbank via Facebook or clicking on this link https://braintreearea.foodbank.org.uk/