AVON STOUR PASTORAL AREA
CHRISTCHURCH FOOD BANK
The Christchurch Food Bank [CFB] provides a balanced diet for 3 days to those in crisis who are referred to the CFB via a voucher. The CFB is non-judgemental and non-discriminatory. The CFB opened in September 2011 specifically serving the people of Christchurch and working out of St. Joseph Christchurch's presbytery garage. Their objective is to assist people out of crisis with food in the short term and referring them to those best able to provide guidance to resolve their long term needs.
In 2012, St. Joseph's Christchurch supported a request to convert part of the old Chapel for use as a Food Bank, greatly improving the support being offered to those in need. There are now 20 Christchurch Churches in the Christchurch Fellowship of Churches, who are the sponsors, collecting the donated food from their respective communities and providing the 30 or so volunteers who staff it. Faithworks Wessex, a Registered Company and Charity, are their partners providing the legal entity allowing the Churches to focus on their Evangelisation aim of bringing relief to the hungry.
The CFB now provide food to some 150 persons per month, 40% of whom are children and they have fed 6000 'mouths' since opening. Of those calling at the CFB, 50% come just once, 20% a second time and a further 25% a third. A few need long term support. No one in need of food is ever turned away but are given sufficient food and directed to a "referrer". There are over 100 local Referrers: e.g. CAB, Housing Associations, Doctors, Schools, Clergy etc. who direct those in need to the Food Bank.
Food donations now also come from permanent collection points within most of the local supermarkets, schools, several businesses and other organisations. The CFB recently received 69 parcels of food from a school on a local estate, some of whose residents have frequently used the Food Bank services over the years. This is a clear act of gratitude by the community.
In 2014 a part-time, paid Co-ordinator was appointed to oversee the smooth running of the CFB and to extend the support services offered. Soft funishings [e.g. bedding, towels] and some limited furniture are now being provided to those given "void housing". A long term, workable scheme for providing donated furniture is still being worked out, possibly with the help of a sister Charity, with, for example, warehousing and transport.
Over the past 18 months CFB has received increasing requests for assistance from those moving into "Void housing", i.e. housing assistance is provided but the property has no furniture whatsoever. The Food Bank are now providing either a Home-Equip pack [kitchen utensils, bedding etc.] or some basic furniture.
Inevitably the CFB needs some cash donations as well as food, but most definitely not in substitution for food!
Standing Order Forms are available from this website [see link below] for anyone willing to assist in this way. Any Standing Order Form should be posted to:
35 Palmerston Road,
BH 11 3HN.
To download the Standing Order Form please click HERE
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