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The hugely vital work of the St Andrew’s Food Bank in West Derby in Liverpool could only flourish with the help of a dedicated group of volunteers.
And while those volunteers don’t put the hours in the search for thanks or appreciation, sometimes that gratitude can be displayed in the most unlikely of places.
As explained by Pat Bacon, who has helped with the Food Bank based at St Andrew’s Church, since retiring from work three years ago.
“Not so long ago we were collecting donations at Sainsbury’s in East Prescott Road,” says Pat.
“We had a list for people to bring in items which we could use at the Food Bank, and some of them brought a whole trolley full.
“One gentleman came over and asked if we had a collection box for money, and he put ten pounds in it.
“I said ‘thank you very much’ but he replied with ‘no, thank you very much’.
“He said we had helped him in the past and that now this was payback time.
“Somewhere along the line I must have spoken to this gentleman at the Food Bank but you see so many faces here that you can’t recognise everyone.
“But that is what he said – at some stage we had helped him, so now he wanted to help us.”
Food Banks and Soup Kitchens across the country are not just about helping the homeless and destitute.
They provide a valuable service to people, many of whom are in work, who are just simply struggling to make ends meet.
That support requires financial assistance, on top of the great care and generosity of the volunteers whom we meet as they greet their visitors warmly whilst packing and distributing the food, based on a voucher scheme which recipients can access via doctors, social workers, health visitors, the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Police.
The Steve Morgan Foundation has donated £70,000 over a three-year period to help with the core costs of the St Andrew’s Food Bank.
“Our aim here is to make sure that when anybody loses their benefits for any reason at all, they are able to get at least three days worth of food to tide them over, says Pat.
“These people would really be struggling without this help.
“We had a gentleman in recently and his wife who hadn’t eaten properly for three days and they had six children.
“We were able to give them a lot of food and this sort of help is vital.
“The donations we receive from the public are phenomenal.
“There was another lady recently who said she hadn’t done anything charitable for years who gave us a trolley full of food, and three cream cakes for the girls who were doing the collecting!
“People are so generous, and it makes a real difference.”
With the help of the Steve Morgan Foundation, the volunteers at the St Andrew’s Food Bank are hoping to continue to be generous where needed for many, many years to come.
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