Workplace training is, of course, the worst. I approached Food Bank training with the same frame of mind.
Slipping into the side of 30 odd foodbank volunteers, I nodded through the first video. I confess: I knitted (socks, garish yellow, thanks for asking). As I relaxed into the session I realised that something more was happening.
30 people, giving their time, almost a whole day. Our manager had made stew and dumplings for everyone. Bakewell tarts. Another volunteer had made a sponge cake.
Every the conversation was of giving service to their community. Of dignity, humility and listening.
We thought through scenarios. Nothing unlike any other training I’ve ever sat through. But these were scenarios, two of which I experienced before Christmas. Where one or two unexpected left hand turns leave you fucked (not usual foodbank language). Each person there wants to help, knows what it is to need help. So show love, compassion and understanding. To realise that some people are at their lowest ebb.
The necessity of foodbanks should be an indictment of our society. Citizens should not live so close to the line that they have to depend on charity.
Whilst this is the sad truth please support your local foodbank with cash, food or toiletries. Everything helps. Or time, if you have a little time – sometimes it’s simply picking up supermarket donations and bringing them in. The wider the pool the more welcoming foodbanks are to the communities that they serve.