In my last blog written towards the end of last week, I was making light of the reality that with my elderly Mum passing away on Christmas Eve, the anniversary of my Dad’s passing on 12th Night had effectively meant the two of them had managed to sandwich the whole of the Christmas period inbetween.
Sat at the bar, in The Old Elm, Churchdown, as I was, I found myself talking to a local man I had seen out with his lovely chocolate Labrador. We didn’t talk for long, but in the time that we did, he mentioned that he was a volunteer at the local food bank, which is housed on Cheltenham Road East, at GL3.
Despite visiting Tesco pretty much every day since it opened about 8 years ago, and using the great Barber’s van that parks right outside the Hub every week, the fact that there is a Food Bank based there had completely passed me by.
I was more than a little disappointed, as I had donated a very large amount of in-date items that I had only cleared as I was sorting through my Mum’s things to what I thought was the closest Food Bank in Cheltenham – on that same day!
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter which Food Bank donations go to. But as there is such an extraordinary and growing need for this kind of support – from not just those who we might expect, but from people we really might not think need to ask or go in search for help of this kind – it does of course make sense that any help that we can give should go to our local community and the people who are in need, who we might be passing in the local street each and every day.
You don’t need to be homeless, out of work, without a car, a phone or many other things to be going hungry – no matter what too many of our politicians or other out-of-touch people who have a public platform might so patronisingly declare.
What makes the unfolding tragedy of the cost-of-living-crisis even worse, is the way The System works, where people in positions of authority have made it so, that ongoing help of this kind requires those in need to create a very big official flag telling the world who they are.
Yes, there has to be a way to prevent fraud and abuse of charity and giving. But many people who need help are thinking twice, because of the problems that the knock-on effects of telling the world that they are struggling – for whatever the reason might be – will cause.
I’ve written about ‘Hungry No More’ – serving the people who share the area I live in today who need real help, because whether we need that help ourselves or are able to give it, every local Food Bank needs to be known by us all, for however long a need for them should regrettably remain.
If you are in Churchdown, Innsworth, Longelevens or Longford, or the wider Cheltenham and Gloucester areas and have the ability to help or even spread the word too, Hungry No More are looking for donations that in particular include:
- Long Life Milk
- Tinned Vegetables
- Tinned Tomatoes/Passata
- Dried Pasta
- Jars of Pasta/Bake Sauce
- Pasta & Sauce Packets
- Tinned Meals
- Tinned Meat
- Tinned Fruit
- Tinned Deserts
- Washing Powder
- Cleaning Products
We are all experiencing an uncertain world and might be surprised by how just easy things could change and for us all to find ourselves needing the help of people who aren’t really strangers, even for just a short time.
Please help Hungry No More if you can. Or if you are reading this from further away, please find or get online and search for your Local Food Bank, or check out orgainsations like The Trussell Trust.
Hungry No More can be contacted by phone on 07824 043895 or by e-mail at email@example.com The address is GL3 Hub, Cheltenham Road East – and they are opposite the Churchdown Tesco.
Thank you everyone – and especially all the local volunteers who are giving so much of their time.