Christmas At The Food Bank Food And Toy Parcels

Organising food parcels for Christmas is a complex operation, even at a small food bank like Whitehead Storehouse. Add to it a collection of toys that people have donated and a requirement to provide some fresh food over the period when the shops are closed and it requires good organisational skills to:

  • ensure all the non-perishable food is within date,
  • the volunteers have all been notified of the dates they are needed,
  • the local shops have been notified of what fresh food will be needed and
  • enough large bags and boxes have been gathered together to hold the necessities for the families in need.

Privacy And Dignity

It is important that families and individuals getting help from the food bank retain their privacy. Only a few members of the committee know the names, addresses and circumstances of the families receiving help. The volunteers who pack the parcels know only that parcel 1 is for a single elderly lady, parcel 2 is for a single parent family with a teenage boy and teenage girl and parcel 3 is for a single man and so on.

Getting Organised

Ahead of the meeting time for volunteers to pack up the food boxes, some of the committee members drew up an anonymous list of recipients, giving only details of numbers of people, genders and age ranges in each family unit. The food donated especially for Christmas, such as boxes of biscuits, mince pies, cereal packets, plum puddings, tins of ham and other items such as personal hygiene items, disposable razors, deodorant, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, etc were arranged on tables in a large hall. The standard non-perishable items such as pasta, tinned soup, jam, tinned tuna and pasta sauces were arranged on their shelves in the storeroom and a large quantity of boxes and large carrier bags were available in one corner. Some of the committee members had also sorted out some appropriate toys for families with children.

Volunteers volunteers worked singly or in pairs, taking one family unit at a time and using their own knowledge of what a family eats over Christmas to choose items from the Christmas range and the personal hygiene range, topping up from the standard non-perishable foods with pasta, sauces and tinned soups and vegetables, etc. All the family units would have had something to eat over the Christmas holidays, including tinned ham, possibly tinned fish, vegetables, pasta and sauces and soups, with cereal for breakfast and mince pies and biscuits.

Fresh Food

Most of the food provided by Whitehead Storehouse is of the non-perishable type, the kinds of tins, packets and jars that can sit safely on a shelf until needed by a family on a low income. Being Christmas, though, Whitehead Storehouse also arranged for a fresh chicken to be available for each family unit receiving a Christmas box. These were only delivered to a local store late on Monday afternoon, the day before Christmas Eve and had to be delivered out along with some of the hampers.

Deliveries require co-ordinating those with cars, helpers and making sure the recipient will be there to receive the food.

Complex Operation

This was a complex operation but everything worked well together, to ensure that no family in Whitehead that was known about went hungry over Christmas 2019

If You Need Help

If you are having difficulty feeding yourself or your family or you have other needs related to low income, please do not hesitate to contact Whitehead Storehouse on 0759 621 3763 to discuss your needs. You can either phone, or send a text. The phone is checked every day, though it may take a couple of hours before you get a reply. You can also contact us through the contact page, which will send an email.