Crucial Role of Foodbanks in our Communities

Crucial Role of Foodbanks in our Communities

Written by Jamal – Gateway Learning Community Trust

I am Jamal and I want to raise awareness of Foodbanks’ crucial role in our communities. I believe that no child in our community should go to bed or school hungry.

Foodbanks are an absolutely crucial need in every community. The Trussle Trust is a nationwide network of food banks which provide emergency food and support to people locked in poverty while campaigning for change to end the need for food banks in the UK.

The Trussle Trust supports over 1,200 food banks across the UK, including our local Thurrock Foodbank. We had the opportunity to meet Mr Peter Newall the director of Thurrock Foodbank, who shared statics with us and discussed how Food Banks provide a crucial role in all our communities.

We all know those times through the year when our schools organise collections which are delivered to our local foodbank. We usually have a competition to weigh the food and see how much we have contributed as a school community… along with the reward of receiving a celebratory Pizza Party for the tutor groups, who collect the most.

However, there is more to a foodbank and the collections made than you might know. In Thurrock alone, between 2020-2021, over 8k customers received food from Thurrock Foodbank. See the below graph provided by Thurrock Foodbank :

Mr Newall commented, that he could see an immense increase during the lockdown and has continued to see a sharp increase during the pandemic and beyond. The question I pose is,

“…what would have happened to our most vulnerable in our community during the pandemic and lockdown?”

What really hit home was studying the households’ age groups, and the data evidence:

This was a reality check, although we collect for the local Foodbank on a regular basis, to hear that we are actually collecting for 662 members of friends and family in our community made our actions even more personal. We now have implemented a free breakfast club at our school, not only making sure none of our peers are hungry, but to help others learn better, as students struggle to learn at school when hungry.

I do believe, that if our local foodbank didn’t exist, we as a community wouldn’t survive. Foodbanks are made up of volunteers from within the community, reason why I believe there should be more awareness raised and support, enabling them to carry on their vital work.

Mr Newell mentioned that they had recently built a coffee shop in addition to the food bank. This development is another form of support to make the local community feel more at ease when going to collect their food. He also stated, that there was still a massive stigma attached to people using Foodbanks and we as a society, something we must challenge continually.

Our first step as a school community was to speak with our career lead and request the opportunity for students to access work experience at the local foodbank, which will allow us to start building a stronger community, while also raising awareness for all.





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