Wantage and Grove Foodbank
About 21/2 years ago Didcot Foodbank contacted Wantage Community Church to ask if they could put together a food parcel for a man in Wantage as it was a bit outside their area. They duly did so, and started to think about starting a foodbank in Wantage. I offered to help, and a group of us started to discuss how we might go about it. We had several meetings, sent out about 50 letters to schools, social services, and anyone we thought might be remotely interested, and generally dithered! We only received two replies to our letters and would probably still be procrastinating if it wasn’t for the local Children’s Centre phoning us up about a client in need of food.
That was two years ago and we have now delivered 211 food parcels and 43 Christmas parcels. (Including 887 tins of soup and 660 tins of baked beans!) We are not as busy as Didcot or Swindon, but there is obviously a need. Most requests come from people who are waiting for benefits (because of job loss, ill health, etc.), or have had a change in circumstances – both of which can mean waiting up to 8 weeks to get any money.
We are run entirely by volunteers from several different churches and collect food from churches, school harvest festivals and collections at supermarkets. We have also had donations of money – very useful when you run out of food! All the food is logged in, dated and shelved in our store at Wantage Civic Hall. We get referrals from various agencies – the Independent Advice Centre in Wantage, the Children’s Centre, Churches, Social Services, Health professionals, etc., and our helpers put together a parcel and deliver it.
Before we began I wondered how we would get enough food, but God has gone before us all the way, and whenever we seem to be accumulating a lot , there’s a need just round the corner. I have to remember it’s God’s Foodbank, not mine!