In Support of Banks

Brian Gray - Santa Claus?

Banks have received a lot of bad publicity in recent years. Barings Bank, PPI Scandal, fraudsters clearing our bank accounts out whilst the government and us the tax payer, are having to bail out banks that have got in trouble. So which banks am I advocating support for?

The Food Bank!

Did you know One in Five people in the UK live below the poverty line? I am going to honest I knew very little about food banks until the company I work for supported our local food bank in the lead up to Christmas 2017.

The concept is so simple. The public donate food to the food bank who then distribute it to those in need of support. I was pleased to support their Christmas Food Appeal last year and even thought about volunteering to help at the food bank. However, given my work and family commitments plus other interests, I couldn’t find the time. It’s so easy not to find the time.

Fast forward to this autumn and I was listening to Talksport. There was a feature about food banks run by football supporters’ groups. The person being interviewed was an Everton supporter. At Everton FC they have a supporter’s group who run a food bank collection point at home games encouraging supporters to bring food which is then distributed to the local food bank. How easy is that!

Given my involvement at Hitchin Town Football Club and my previous interest in food banks, I was energised to do something. So, with the support of Hitchin Town Football Club and North Herts FM, I approached Letchworth Food Bank and liaised with Ciaran. This is what I found out.

Letchworth Food Bank, run by the Trussell Trust was started in October 2012 and has

The Trussell Trust

three distribution centres, Letchworth, Hitchin and Baldock. These centres are open twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10.00 to 12.00. They use a referral system where clients are referred to the Foodbank by organisations who are best placed to access their needs such as Housing Associations, Schools, Medical practices, Job Centre, Citizens Advice Bureau etc.

Between April 2017 and March 2018, Letchworth Food Bank distributed 33 tonnes of food to help fed 3319 local clients, including 1623 children. In the 5 weeks leading up to Christmas 2018 the foodbank will be providing Christmas food parcels for local individuals and families in crisis, and require the following: Tinned Ham Christmas Pudding Christmas Cake Box of Biscuits Children’s Selection Box Box of Chocolates Large Bars of Chocolate (150/200g) Snacks and nibbles Christmas Crackers

Armed with this information, Hitchin Town Football Club approved my proposal to run a food bank collection point from Top Field, in partnership with North Herts FM, to collect food for onward distribution to Letchworth Food Bank. We started the collection point at yesterday’s home match against Barwell and thanks to the generosity of Hitchin Town supporters and club officials who donated, I put two full boxes and some seven or eight bags full of food into my car to take to Letchworth Food Bank on Friday.

On top of this the Hitchin Town Ground Staff who run a sweepstake on games even donated their sweepstake money so my wife and I brought some extra items for the food bank last night. I also found out that one of the Hitchin Town club officials volunteers at Bedford Food Bank whilst the father of one of our players does voluntary charity work and works with a food bank.

We will be running the food bank collection point again on Wednesday 5th December 2018 from 7pm, when we entertain Hemel Hempstead Town and on Saturday 15th December 2018 when Halesowen Town are the visitors.

If you would like more in information on Letchworth Food Bank, they are located at: C/O St Paul's Church Office 179 Pixmore Way Letchworth Garden City Herts. SG6 1QT Tel: 07825 300437 E-mail: Webpage: Letchworth Foodbank Distribution Centres are located at: Mrs Howard Memorial Hall Norton Way South Letchworth SG6 1NX Our Lady’s Scout Hall Church of Our Lady Immaculate and St Andrew 16 Nightingale Road Hitchin SG5 1QS St Mary’s Church Hall Church Street Baldock SG7 5AE

All postal enquiries should be directed to the Hitchin address. Other local food banks include Royston Food Bank, Stevenage Community Food Bank and Luton Food Bank. Most towns have food banks run by local charities or church groups. If you can, please support your local food bank, it’s such a simple, easy thing to do and hopefully we go a short way to help those in need. Please also remember that food banks are open all year round and need our support throughout the year, not just over the Christmas period.

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