The Holbeck Food Bank, set up in spring 2013, has since then been able to meet the needs of so many living in Holbeck and Beeston. Founded by Mosaic Church and Holbeck Christian Fellowship, and run by volunteers, the food bank partners with referral agencies and local organisations such as Kidz Klub who are able to refer families and individuals to the food bank to provide food as needed.
Each food parcel is delivered personally by a volunteer, and includes all the essential store cupboard items you would usually purchase in your weekly shop. The personal nature of the food bank is explained best through stories of volunteers who have been able to spend time with some of the people the food bank sets out to help.
One example comes from volunteer Sarah’s experience. On delivering a parcel to a woman living alone in Beeston Hill, Sarah discovered that it was her birthday the following week, and so returned to give her a card and spend some time with her. Through this initial act of community, Sarah was then able to invite the woman to a community event in Holbeck. It’s stories like this one that share best the heart of what the food bank was set up for; to not only meet needs short term, but to invest in Holbeck and build relationships within the community. The hope of the food bank is to go beyond practical need, tackling issues of loneliness and isolation.
While this may seem idealistic, the importance of the work they do is not only in fulfilling a practical need but also showing that South Leeds is a community that cares for one another and where no one should be forgotten. The testament to the success of this vision is in some of the comments made by families who have been helped through difficult times. Just a handful of these comments follows:
“I honestly didn’t know what I was going to do- I thought no one cared” – November 2013
“You are absolute lifesavers, really you are” – May 2014
One individual who was referred to the food bank described the volunteers as angels saying that they had made a real difference. – September 2014
Needless to say, the Holbeck Food Bank is doing something good in the community of Holbeck and Beeston. There is something significant in the way the food bank is run. While volunteers are the ones to deliver parcels, the bank itself is really run by the much wider community of Leeds. It’s a service for the people of South Leeds, provided by the people of South Leeds. In giving to the food bank you could be providing for a family who lives in the next street, and this is the vision of real community behind the work of Holbeck Food Bank; that it would be about the people living there to care for others in their neighbourhood.
This care has been seen time and time again from individuals who give to the food bank, as well as large one off donations such as a recent donation from a local primary school that had one of the volunteers unpacking bags for an entire afternoon, and left the shelves of the food store looking much fuller than when he’d arrived.
Holbeck Food Bank has seen the needs of so many families and individuals met by the generosity of people in the community who continue to give food to the project. And it cannot continue without donations from people around Leeds.
If you would like to give then please go to http://mosaic-church.org.uk/quick-links/holbeck-food-bank?/holbeckfoodbank for more information.
The Food Bank is always keen to partner with new organisations, such as a recent partnership with the Job Club that runs in Holbeck Community Centre. Through a spontaneous meeting between one of the volunteers and one of the Job Club workers, the food bank was able to provide for a woman they would not otherwise have heard about. So please, if you are an organisation working with people you think could benefit from this service then this link will also take you to some information on how to make a referral.