Happy Birthday Churches For Horley Food Bank!
This month marks five years since Churches for Horley Food Bank first opened its doors in February 2015 to provide basic emergency food and toiletries. The aim of Churches for Horley is to support people living in poverty in and around the town of Horley by helping them when in short-term crisis situations.
Although Horley’s food bank has been in operation for five years, it was earlier, in 2011 that the food bank’s co-ordinator, Diane, became aware that increasingly there were families in Horley who were struggling to feed their families. Whilst foodbanks existed in other towns, Horley did not have a similar provision. Some of the churches were providing food to families, however, the demand was increasing as were enquiries from local organisations working with families in need.
In 2014 Churches for Horley began to explore how it could work together to provide food from a central location. Members explored how other food banks worked, gathered a group of volunteers, secured a venue – which is still in use today – Horley Methodist Church in Victoria Road and, collect food in anticipation of the food bank’s opening to the public. In the early days it would see around eight clients visiting, today, that number has increased with it regularly seeing 20 clients a week.
Speaking about the Churches For Horley Food Bank, co-ordinator, Diane says: “A client who comes to us can expect to be warmly welcomed as we recognise how difficult it is stepping through our doors for the first time. They will be asked to choose what they require from a shopping list. Whilst the food parcel is made up by a volunteer, clients are offered a drink and can select additional items from boxes that contain donated goods not on our shopping list. We also provide bread and eggs.”
Those who need help and support from a food bank, they are specifically referred by an agency which works with families and individuals such as health visitors, social workers, schools, housing trusts, citizens advice bureau and mental health organisations. These agencies provide the client with a voucher which must be presented on arrival at a food bank with the voucher indicating the number of people in the family so that they can be provided with the appropriate amount of food.
Diane says of the challenges facing food banks, says: “Nationally there has been a rise in the number of people accessing foodbanks and Horley is no different. The challenge for us is to continue to collect enough food to meet the demand and to ensure that we provide a warm welcome and a listening ear to those who are struggling. We continue to evaluate our services and are in regular contact with local organisations to ensure we are meeting the needs of the local community.”
Churches For Horley Food Bank is open on Wednesdays from 12.30pm to 2.00pm, and Friday from 2.00pm to 4.00pm, and is a non profit making organisation and relies entirely on donations of food and money from local schools, churches, businesses, organisations and individuals. Every single item or penny given makes a difference. The food bank has collection bins in Horley, but the easiest way to donate is to drop food items at Horley Methodist Church during opening hours or on a Saturday morning from 10.30am to 12.30pm – it can also accept regular donations through its bank account.
For more information about Churches for Horley Food Bank, visit: www.horleyfoodbank.com, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.