Foodbank: Harvest Donations & Giving Thanks

As we leave behind the Harvest Donations period and head towards Christmas, it’s a time for giving thanks at foodbank. We are always so grateful for the donations we receive each week. During Harvest, lots and lots of schools make donations and this helps prepare us for the Christmas period. At Christmastime we put together additional parcels, with treats and special items where possible, but ultimately to give a boost to shelves and cupboards.

Harvest Donations

I remember making Harvest donations as a child, looking through the cupboards at home for tins that we could donate. We would bring them all in to school and gather them together in the assembly hall. It makes me feel nostalgic knowing that this still takes place, and that I, as a foodbank volunteer, now get to see its direct impact. For many it’s an opportunity to clear out old cans and sauces and we do see some out-of-date and rather unique items in the donations! However, we largely receive amazing contributions that far exceed our expectations and give us a great boost in morale.

During today’s foodbank session I wrote thank you cards to send to our donors, both recent and regular. Writing these cards while the foodbank is abuzz with activity brings a great sense of accomplishment.

In between writing cards I replenished our stock of laundry tablets. We separate large boxes of pods, capsules and tablets into smaller bundles in order to share more widely across our client households. I also packed a bag for a family who are new to using foodbank services. We see faces past, new and regular, and there is not necessarily a pattern.

Some regular clients seek us out as much for some company, conversation and structure to their day as for a small parcel of fruit and veg. My observation is that visiting us gives them some purpose. Some may be lonely and are grateful for 10-15 minutes of interaction. On most occasions they refuse a full care parcel, asking only for one or two small items. Not only do their visits help them, it gives us a chance to monitor their welfare. We try to look for signposting opportunities to link clients to services and organisations that can help improve their circumstances. Or we simply keep an eye on their health and general wellbeing.

All of it is made possible by the donations we receive, and the cycle of thanks continues.

For more information about foodbanks and how to donate, see The Trussell Trust website for more information.