CHC & HeRC Green impact: Lending a hand at Manchester South Central Food bank

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Posted on the 18th March 2019

As members of The University of Manchester’s Green Impact community, Connected Health Cities and the Health eResearch Centre are always on the look-out for volunteering opportunities and sustainability initiatives. On Thursday 14th March, we were delighted to help at Manchester South Central Food bank for the day, which is a busy food bank operating less than a mile away from the University’s main campus.

Manchester South Central Food bank delivers two weekly sessions per week (every Wednesday and every Saturday) where it provides emergency food aid to families in crisis. The majority of the items included in each food parcel are donated by the general public, with many of the food bank’s donations received through ‘food drive’ events at local supermarkets such as Asda and Tesco.

To ensure that the busy food bank sessions run as smoothly as possible, the warehouse has to be kept organised, with each donation being weighed, clearly labelled, marked with its sell-by date and organised by food group. That’s where we came in!

My colleague Camille and I went along to the Hulme food bank where we were greeted by Corinne, the food bank’s Warehouse Coordinator. We were soon weighing, counting and sorting the donations, ensuring that each item was recorded on a spreadsheet.

The term ‘food bank’ usually conjures images of baked beans and tins of soup and, whilst the warehouse is certainly home to an abundance of those items, it also provides clients with other supplies such as coffee, toiletries, nappies, washing up liquid, jams and preserves, fruit cordial, tinned halal meat, Easter eggs and tinned veg.

 

A large proportion of the food bank’s supplies are donated by the public.

 

“Manchester South Central Food bank relies on the help of volunteers to provide vital support to people in our local community. Thank you so much to Camille and Katie from the CHC and HeRC team for your hard work at the food bank. It’s marvellous and a huge help.”
– Corinne, Warehouse Coordinator, Manchester South Central food bank.

If you’re interested in supporting the food bank, there are lots of ways that you can get involved.

Donations
Manchester South Central food bank is coordinated by Bridging the Gap, and you can donate online here to support their work.

If you’d like to donate some food, the food bank are currently in need of donations of sugar, long life whole milk, tinned rice pudding, tinned carrots, tinned potatoes, tinned meat, halal meat, jam and washing powder.

You can drop donations off at the donations stations located at:

  • Co-op on Withington Road in Whalley Range
  • In the foyer of Asda in Hulme
  • Tesco Extra on Chester Road in Stretford

Volunteering
The food bank needs volunteers for the following roles:

Bid writer Have you got bid writing skills? The food bank needs a volunteer who can help with funding applications to support the work of the food bank and to develop other important community projects.

Trustee If you’ve got skills that could help with the governance of the food bank and your passionate about tackling food poverty in our region then the food bank would love to hear from you as they are looking to expand their board of trustees.

Fundraiser The food bank is always in need of cash donations. Are you a budding baker? Perhaps you’d like to get fit and do a sponsored sporting event? Whatever you choose, any funds raised will go directly towards supporting families in crisis.

Event volunteers Throughout the year, the food bank run a number of supermarket food collections which are staffed almost entirely by volunteers. This is a great chance to give your time on a more ad-hoc/ one-off basis, especially if you can’t commit to regular volunteering. As well as one-off fundraising events, the food bank also needs volunteers for jobs such as stock taking.

How do I get involved? Email volunteers@manchestersouthcentral.foodbank.org.uk, follow @MSCFoodbank on Twitter, or search @Mcrsouthcentralfoodbank on Facebook.

And finally, a big thank you to Corinne and Karen at Manchester South Central food bank for providing us with this fantastic opportunity to help out.

Katie McCall, Digital Communications Coordinator- Greater Manchester Connected Health City, The University of Manchester

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