The Coronavirus pandemic is placing pressure across society. This is increasingly affecting the most vulnerable in our communities, who are finding it harder to access the support they need.
Already, more families need help from foodbanks. For some people work has dried up and the benefit system is not providing the timely support needed. We expect that trend to speed up in the coming days, especially as schools close.
Foodbanks have always relied on public support, particularly the support of churches. COVID-19 has produced a particular set of challenges which churches and church members can play a big role in meeting.
How we can help
- Foodbanks rely on volunteers. Many of these volunteers are older people, who cannot volunteer at this time because they are in a high-risk group. Foodbanks urgently need more working age people, who are not in high risk groups, to volunteer while this crisis lasts.
- Many of the people who foodbanks help have disabilities. Many are likely to be in high risk groups that must self-isolate. If we are to provide a lifeline to these families, food must be brought to them. Foodbanks need people who can help to transport or deliver food and other essentials to families who are unable to collect them.
- Foodbanks rely on donations of food (and money). There is currently more demand, and many people are urgently focussed on making sure their families are secure. Foodbanks are going to need continued and increased donations. As the supermarkets are not as full as normal, some foodbanks are making arrangements with local stores to buy what they need when it’s available. If you can’t buy the items your local foodbank currently needs, financial donations will help them buy those items when they are available.
Foodbanks offer more than simply food and practical support. They offer kindness, care, and compassion to people who are often at a low ebb. As churches and Christians, it is especially important that we seek out new ways in the current crisis to offer that compassion.
Perhaps the most basic, but incredibly crucial, way we can offer that care is through prayer. Prayer for foodbanks, those who volunteer, those who work to keep them running, those whose assistance is needed during this time and those who need support.
You can find our guidance on supporting foodbanks here.
At JPIT, we want to share examples of Good News during this difficult time. If you have examples to share, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Offer help here:
Trussell Trust is the largest network of foodbanks: www.trusselltrust.org.uk
Find your local TT foodbank: www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/
Register to volunteer: www.trusselltrust.org/volunteer
Independent Food Aid Network supports a range of food-aid providers in the UK: www.foodaidnetwork.org.uk
You can donate food online to some foodbanks through bankuet.co.uk