A FOODBANK this week marked a decade during which it has served 200,000 people, including 80,000 children, and given away £3 million in donated food.
Coventry Foodbank was begun with the support of Coventry churches that responded on seeing the number of people struggling to pay for essentials. Over the years, it has expanded. There are now 12 food distribution centres across the city.
The Dean of Coventry, the Very Revd John Witcombe, said in a message of thanks to staff and volunteers at the anniversary event: “We are sorry that you are necessary; we are incredibly glad that you are there, bringing a real practicality to this city of peace and reconciliation.”
The founder, Gavin Kibble, said: “When we first launched Coventry Foodbank, I had a goal of helping 2000 people a year. Yet the need in the city has been so great that we’ve ended up actually serving over 12 times that number.”
Hundreds of volunteers have supported the foodbank over the years: 180 are working in its centres at the moment.
“This caring army of local heroes means we have achieved tangible transformation. This is the Matthew 25 mandate to love your neighbour through meeting the most basic needs in our community; it’s a message of Christ’s hope to those who need it,” Mr Kibble said.
Coventry Foodbank has now joined with the charity Feed the Hungry, which feeds 330,000 children around the world. The national director of Feed The Hungry, Gwyn Williams, said: “Looking ahead to the next ten years, we are not interested in just providing a short-term emergency solution, but one that deals with the root causes of food poverty.
“Ultimately, we want to journey with people from survival to significance, and are developing a series of programmes around employability and support services to achieve that. We believe this journey is most effectively implemented when the local community, churches, and individuals act together, and we have seen that work brilliantly in Coventry over the last ten years.”
Video messages of thanks to the staff and volunteers at the foodbank were sent from Coventry-born celebrities, including the director of the film Nativity!, Debbie Isitt; the Peaky Blinders actor Graeme Hawley; and the filmmaker Ken Loach.