Ruth said: “We were shown round the warehouse and Chris answered any questions we had. Our local Labour branch hosts a monthly collection point outside the Co-op on Crookes, and the first thing that struck us was how our contribution from last weekend, which had seemed immense when it was stacked up on the street, had become just a tiny part of this giant operation.
We spent a couple of hours there in all, helping pack up the next batch of food parcels ready for collection at the Gilpin Street site. I’ve been searching for the right words to convey the thoughts and feelings this visit brought up for me, but it’s not easy to describe, and it’s not about me anyway.
Before Covid struck, S6 Foodbank distributed 1.4 tons of food and household supplies to around 300 people per week from 4 sites. Now that is 11 tons, to 1200 people per week across 12 sites.
When people phone the helpline they are usually at a very low point emotionally and mentally, as well as financially. S6 does not just hand out food parcels. There is advice on hand from Shelter, Citizens Advice, debt advice, and council housing officers. When they arrive at a distribution site, people can sit down with a cuppa, begin to talk through the difficulties of their situation, and get support to move forward.
Why is all this even necessary in the sixth wealthiest nation in the world? We all know where the root causes are, and that the successive governments that are responsible for pushing millions of citizens into poverty have also failed to acknowledge or put right their wrongdoings.
The hardest thing of all about our visit? Walking away.”