News and Articles
23 September 2013
On Sunday morning, like many other churches in the UK, we had a harvest collection of food for needy people. In Southampton, our local food bank is Basics Bank, part of Southampton City Mission which this year is celebrating its 50th anniversary. As you can see from the photo, we were pleased to collect a large amount of food, which we trust will make a real difference. And it will, but ...
In first quarter of this year, Basics Bank has seen a 50% increase in demand on the same period last year. That means food has been given out 3,254 times, and clothes have been given out 873 times.
Basics Bank expects these figures to increase again, based on what has been seen in the last month. The latest estimates suggest that Basics Bank is feeding close to 800 people a month at the moment. Dave Osborne, the recently appointed manager of Basics Bank, reported that, ‘This Monday alone, we fed 78 people. We were totally cleared out!” And here is the problem: Dave very humbly revealed to us on Sunday that all the food we had collected would probably last just one day.
Just one day. For just one of the five food banks in the city.
So, we thank everyone in the church for their generosity – it is great to see how people were moved to give. The need continues, though, and as far as we can see, it is only going to increase. As a church, we are thinking about what else we can do. How about everyone in the church making a more regular donation of food or clothes, rather only thinking about it at harvest? We have a collection point permanently available in our side corridor on the first floor.
There are also other ways you can help meet some of Basics Bank’s urgent needs. They include:
Clothes Bank Supervisor
Southampton City Mission is looking for a friendly ‘people person’ to head up the SCM Clothing Bank team every Monday. While the practicalities of the project involve providing clothes for those in need, they are searching for an individual who loves working with a team, creating a fun atmosphere, and who will love providing a warm and welcoming environment for those who come in. There will be full support and training from the SCM staff, and the opportunity to steer and shape the project as it develops.
Volunteers Drivers and Drivers' Mates
There is an on-going need for drivers for the Basics Bank van, but there is also more immediate short-term need for help over the busy harvest period, when drivers need someone to help with collections from schools and churches.
Basics Bank needs more volunteers across the projects: people who can not only help practically, but who can welcome people, chat to them and listen to their stories. Dave Osborne would be especially glad to hear from people who have a secure Christian faith, and who would be confident to point clients to further help as appropriate, whether that be for professional help or to let them know about toddler groups or courses that the church runs.
New main store
Southampton City Mission needs to find a new store for the Basics Bank food. It needs to be somewhere fairly central and approximately 1000 sq ft in size. It also needs to be free, to keep overheads to a minimum, so the churches can own it and so Basics Bank can keep what it does as simple as possible: ‘get stuff for free, and give it out for free in the name of Jesus.’