Along with many in our community, I am deeply grateful for the practical help given by the Hamilton Combined Christian Foodbank to families in need, and it is significant to acknowledge that this service has been offered for over 20 years. Anne and I enjoyed attending the event last year at which this milestone, and all who had contributed to it, were celebrated.
The Foodbank is administered by a Trust representing churches and community agencies. Until her recent retirement, Louisa Humphry was the Foodbank Manager for over 10 years. Under her caring and passionate leadership, coupled with the hard work and efforts of the volunteers, the Foodbank won the Team Excellence Award at the 2018 Volunteer Waikato Awards. Louisa’s husband Jack was the Foodbank’s van driver in charge of shopping and collection. I gratefully acknowledge Louisa and Jack’s commitment and long service.
I have known the new Manager, Ruth Barrowclough, for many years and consider her an ideal replacement. Ruth is supported by many volunteers and on Friday mornings the Foodbank is a busy distribution hub when the food parcels are prepared for delivery. The long-standing volunteers are all seniors with a couple being in their 90s. The Foodbank receives food parcel requests from churches and its supporting agencies which are then collated and delivered on Friday afternoons.
It’s particularly heart-warming to note that young people with disabilities from Enrich Plus, assisted by a support worker, provide help on Monday to Friday mornings and undertake tasks according to their ability. Their responsibilities include packaging basic supplies, cutting cabbages and similar tasks. Their help is greatly valued by the Foodbank and ensures that the provisions are ready for the Friday volunteers who assemble the food parcels.
The bigger agencies collect the food parcels from the Foodbank and volunteers deliver to agencies such as Methodist City Mission and Desert Spring.
The Foodbank liaises with other major agencies such as Salvation Army, Kaivolution, St Vincent de Paul and the city’s Churches. This combined community service is an outstanding example of Christian outreach.
292 food parcels were provided in July of this year, 288 in August and 341 in September which demonstrates the steady demand and keeps all the volunteers busy. It’s one of the reasons why the team was excited and grateful recently to take possession of a new walk-in freezer replacing the old chest freezers they need to store their frozen goods.
Manager Ruth, the Foodbank Trust and the large supportive team of volunteers who undertake a myriad of tasks offer a vital service to individuals and families. Their combined efforts offer hope and practical help and I admire and appreciate their compassion and service.
Many fine folk have supported and enabled Foodbank’s outreach for over 20 years and I gratefully acknowledge the continuing commitment of so many who are dedicated to making a difference for those facing hardship. I know that the Trust and volunteers thank everyone who has donated and all those who continue to donate to the work of the Foodbank through prayer, food, time, talent and money.