Chair Person’s Message
On behalf of all associated with Swanley Foodbank both in the past and now I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to Connie Hatch who has recently retired from her role as fundraiser. Connie was instrumental in founding and managing the Foodbank in Swanley in March 2014 but has also worked tirelessly in many other areas of church activity in Swanley. It should not be forgotten that Connie’s husband Terry has also been a wonderful supporter of the Foodbank since its inception, volunteering in many roles and doing much of the ‘heavy lifting’.
On Monday, Wendy and I attended a U3A current affairs group in Riverhead explaining within an open discussion forum both the specific workings of Swanley Foodbank and how our work fits within the context of society and the national political landscape. We have received positive feedback from this meeting and it has confirmed my belief that there is a lot of goodwill out there for what we are trying to achieve.
Christmas will soon be with us and the Tesco collection event will take place as usual, but please see below for more details. Although people are becoming more familiar with our work, there is still much for us to do going forward and explaining across the community why it will continue to play an essential part in the life of our surrounding neighbourhoods and wider community.
If you get the chance I would recommend you watch Ken Loach’s new award winning film “I, Daniel Blake” which was released on 21st October as it vividly portrays the connections between going through the benefits system and dependency on Foodbanks.
Best wishes for Christmas and New Year.
For those of you who like statistics: Since April 2016, 164 vouchers have been issued, feeding 252 adults and 163 children.
We have received the following donations :
|Asda Store Swanley||559.4 kg|
|Waitrose Store Sevenoaks||1341.9 kg|
|Local Churches||465.9 kg|
We would like to thank Hextable Primary, Hextable Pre-school, High First Primary, Crockenhill Primary, St Paul’s Swanley village, St Michael’s Preparatory School Otford and St Mary’s C of E Primary School for their generous donations at harvest time.
We are very grateful to all those who so generously donate to the Swanley and District Foodbank. Your generosity makes such a difference to people at a time when they most need help and support.
We have also received financial gifts totaling
£829.00 including cash donations from harvest.
Please consider if you could make a small regular financial donation to help the work of the Swanley and District Foodbank, standing order forms and gift aid forms are available on request.
As Autumn approaches so does the image of harvest festivals, a long standing tradition where we give thanks to God for the abundance of what we have. We have certainly seen an abundance at the Foodbank due to the amazing generosity of local schools and churches who have celebrated harvest and donated their gifts to us, (please see the statistics above for details).
I would like to say a big thank you to them and the volunteers who helped weigh, sort and store the incredible variety of goods we received, your help and support is vital for us to be able to continue to offer our support and love to the community in which we live.
September saw a marked increase in the people using the Foodbank and we gave away almost a tonne of food, toiletries and household goods to those in need.
We could not do this without your generous support. We have also seen a few clients returning, not for help, but to tell us of how their lives have been changed, thanks in part to the Foodbank.
As winter approaches I would ask you to think of those who will struggle to manage their finances to pay for heating, bills, rent and food and consider how you might be able to help, every little helps whether it is a small donation of food or money and can make a big difference to so many people in our community.
From a Volunteer at Swanley Foodbank
I meet many people at the Foodbank, who are facing adversity in their lives with courage and dignity. Like the couple who came the other day;
The husband’s health problems brought them to the Foodbank. He had been diagnosed with vasculitis, psoriasis and a severe heart condition last year and was waiting for an operation on his heart. Recently his legs had become infected and he had been admitted to hospital, and it was the bus fares to the hospital that left them with no money to buy food for their two children, they were not asking for help for themselves, they were asking for their children to be fed. The husband was adamant that as soon as he has his heart operation he will be able to get a job.
For many years they had run a small grocery business until a large chain store opened a shop in their village. Not only had they lost their business, they had lost their home and everything they had worked for.
The wife has been disabled since birth but they had managed until they lost their business. This couple were determined that they would start again with another business. Their tenacity and courage has to be admired.
I am also humbled by the generosity of the many people who donate food to the Foodbank, they give those people facing hard times the means to go to bed with full bellies. Swanley is not in an area of outstanding natural beauty or of many wealthy citizens but it is a town where the people care about each another.
We often receive little cards and thank you letters like the one below received recently from another grateful family we helped.
In Mathew 25:40 it says, “And the King will reply, whenever you did this for one of the least in need. important of these members of my family, you did it to me”.
Regular donations are very important to the Foodbank. We are very grateful to Stanhill Farm, Birchwood Road, Wilmington, who donate boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables every week and the donations we collect weekly from the drop-off points at both Asda in Swanley and Waitrose in Sevenoaks. We also receive weekly donations from many local churches as well as individuals who bring them to the Foodbank premises.
In addition to the items which can be found on the ‘Foodbank List’ we also rely on generous financial donations which enable us to continue our work in the community. If you would like to set up a standing order or give a one-off donation, please contact the Foodbank on 07798 872573, or visit the Foodbank at 11 Lynden Way, Swanley.
Our annual Tesco collection held at the Sidcup branch will take place Thursday 1st December, Friday 2nd December and Saturday 3rd December 2016.
We will be manning the collection point from 9am – 5pm each day and would be grateful for any help to cover a two hour slot. If you are able to help please phone 07798 872573.