Dawn Simmons and Emma Faulkner from our Support Hub both have roles that improve the lives of residents who may be struggling to manage their homes, finances and health. All Greenfields staff members are entitled to one day per year to volunteer for local projects and charities, and, in late November, Dawn and Emma help Braintree Area Foodbank to collect donated food at Tescos Superstore in Braintree. Dawn recounts her experience:
“My day volunteering with the Braintree Food Bank was very interesting. I must admit I had my own questions for them:
- Why do we need a food bank?
- Does it really help?
- Do you offer more than just food?
I had a little knowledge, but the day really gave me a much clearer idea of the role of food banks and how hard they work, the results they achieve and how very much the service is needed.
My role involved handing out lists of items needed and receiving them from customers who had purchased them inside the store.
Most people took a leaflet but not everyone donated food. The majority were very nice but I was accosted by one gentleman who had recently seen someone seen someone receive food from the food bank and then dump half of it in a bin! This was shocking, upsetting and not very helpful to the cause. I steered the gentleman to the Food Bank Supervisor. After gaining more information the gentleman realised how rare this is, and he went on to purchase a couple of items for our collection.
I learned that the charity is mostly run by volunteers and has only one paid member of staff, who is part-time. They need £40,000 every year to operate, and rely on donations and fundraising to survive.
The need for their service has grown enormously over the last six years and they really are very stretched to meet the demand. They did admit that they had, on one occasion, run out of food.
People were very kind and donated some Christmas items, but the need is really for basic items, such as tea, coffee, sugar, toiletries, nappies, baby food and pet food.
I would encourage everyone to support this wonderful charity, as the need for their service will only get bigger.”
Braintree Area Foodbank fed 4,813 people last year. Find out more about them by clicking on this link: braintreearea.foodbank.org.uk
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