The CGCC Food Bank is a non-profit organisation providing assistance with food supplies to households requiring support and trying to alleviate poverty in its local community.
We distribute mostly donated food to residents in our surrounding area. We operate predominantly within a 4.5 mile radius of Calder Grove Cricket Club. We originally intended to be a pop-up food bank, operating for just 2 weeks in April in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, but now that we have seen the need for support in our local area, we are turning the CGCC Food Bank into a permanent service. We are currently delivering up to 100 essential food parcels a week, as well as trying to provide ancillary support (e.g. access to clothing, toys, toiletries and other services). By the end of the year, we will have sourced, packed and delivered well over 3000 food parcels.
Seeing the impact that we can have on the lives of people within our community is overwhelming. I think a lot of people don't realise the struggles which households are facing within a few miles of their own doorstep. Some of the people we assist require support for medical reasons, others have fallen on hard times as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and some have always had a tough time. We all regularly take our day to day essentials for granted, without a second thought, but for some people it’s just not that simple. We're really proud to be able to support the households that need it. They are so appreciative for even the simplest of things. It can be an emotional rollercoaster at times, but I'm incredibly proud of every single person that has been involved in the CGCC Food Bank so far, whether it be volunteering their time, donating food, contributing financially or just helping to spread the word about our existence. It is easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day organisation that running a food bank entails but, sometimes, when I take a moment to sit back and reflect on what we've done, I can't quite believe it.
We receive referrals from lots of different sources now that we have established ourselves as a permanent service. We are in regular communication with the Council's financial welfare team and with organisations such as CashWise and Live Well Wakefield. Residents in need of support also contact us directly, as we advertise as widely as we possibly can on social media. It seems that a lot of people either find it difficult to ask for additional support or don’t know how to access it. It’s one reason why we try to keep our offering simple - we remove the bureaucracy and any judgment. Our mission is straightforward - we supply food parcels to those households that require our support to try to alleviate poverty in our community. There are lots of people in situations that, only months ago, they couldn’t have foreseen. We support people who needed assistance long before Covid-19 arrived, as well as people who have fallen on hard times as a result of the pandemic, and we do so in a friendly and discreet manner. We are just normal people from the community that have come together to support our neighbours across the district and I think that is why we have been so well supported.
I am a lawyer by day, with no prior experience of running a food bank, so it is a constant learning curve, but I am lucky to have an incredible team of volunteers (over 40 of them now!) and such a supportive community. As above, we are now making the CGCC Food Bank permanent. We have built a new structure at Calder Grove Cricket Club which will be our new home once it is complete (just internal plastering and decoration left to do!). We have been able to do this thanks to the incredible generosity of our local community, who have helped us to fundraise the amount needed for materials, and thanks to some amazing skilled volunteers who have given up their weekends and not charged us a single penny for their labour! As far as our processes go, we are always learning and evolving, as I am sure we will continue to throughout our existence, but particularly at present as we react to the ever-changing Government guidelines and new laws.