AS MORE people in need turn towards food banks for aid, the invaluable support of volunteers is as vital as ever.
Fortunately, across the Observer area, scores of helpers have answered the call and come to the aid of those in need.
“The food bank wouldn’t work if we didn’t have volunteers. I think we’ve got more than 100,” said Joanne Kondabeka, Chichester’s project manager.
“I think that’s probably grown since we opened Midhurst.
“We do rely on volunteers and we’ve always got people wanting to be volunteers.”
The Observer has highlighted the importance of food banks to people in its December editions, encouraging people to donate spare food whenever they do a supermarket shop to help support their neighbours and community.
“This project really runs on volunteers,” said Joanne.
She described them as ‘key’ to the success of the food bank.
“Amazingly, there are people who have just retired and wanted to do something almost full time,” she said.
Food banks traditionally see a rise in demand at Christmas, as people face increasing financial pressures in the run up to December 25.
The volunteers’ help is crucial with creating the satellite branches to help communities.
For example, the Selsey branch opened in September, 2013.
“Selsey is doing really well,” said Joanne. “Everyone seems to be working together there.”
She said around three or four people turned up each week with a voucher, which could be for a single person or even a whole family.
“Since Selsey has opened they’ve fed nearly 300 people,” she said.
People’s goodwill towards the food bank is clear and long may it continue.
At the Observer’s community awards on Monday night, the Bognor Regis Foodbank won the readers’ choice award for the Best Voluntary Charity Group – once again proof of the importance of the many foodbank volunteers.