Of What Use Are Food Banks?

Sometimes we wonder why we do things, especially social action stuff like foodbanks.  After all, if you believe some politicians and parts of the media, they are not needed and are self perpetuating because scroungers and free loaders are given food gratis.  But when Ken Loach’s new film – I, Daniel Blake, “a movie of radical plainness and simplicity about the benefits system” (Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian online, 26/05/16) – wins the Palme d’Or at Cannes, perhaps it may be time for a rethink.

New Community has been hosting a foodbank since 2012 and it is part of The Trussell Trust Bexley Foodbank network.  We will feed around 30 people per month (as a whole, Bexley Foodbank feed 280 people per month).  That may not seem many, but that is 30 people whose lives have been touched in some small way but New Community and, more importantly, by God’s grace.

A foodbank is there for short term food poverty and our aim is always to bless clients and offer support where we can.  That may be via friendship, advice, signposting, prayer or simply through acceptance.  This is one client’s story:

“Circumstances led me to needing to use the food bank and I was apprehensive, primary due to my own pride.  I needn’t have worried.  The first time I came, I was greeted with a smile and a genuine interest in helping me.  There was no judgement, just compassion.” S.O. 31/05/16.

S.O’s story is a happy one for him, as he continues: “I am now going back to work and will hopefully no longer need this service.”  His story is also a happy one for the foodbank: “since experiencing the service, I will be sure to donate goods as and when I can”.

We have not yet had the blessing of seeing a client come to salvation and have never knowingly “entertained angels” (Hebrews 13:2).  We aim to treat everyone with respect, dignity and in the same manner Jesus would.  When Jesus was challenged as to how people had served God, He responded “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” Matthew 25:40.  My team & I count it a privilege to serve God via the foodbank and we thank you for your continued support – we couldn’t do what we do if it wasn’t for the support of the church.  If you would like to know more about the foodbank or even join the team, please drop me a line.