I love the foodbank AGM. Is that weird? It sounds a bit odd, and I definitely wouldn’t say the same for any other Annual General Meeting, but this one is different. It’s a real celebration of all the good work Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank is doing in the city…
On Friday morning we kicked off with a signposting marketplace with all sorts of organisations that are working to support those in need within our city. This allows our distribution centre volunteers to find out more information about our partners in order to help our guests with their own individual crises more effectively. From the foodbank stall that I was manning in the corner of the room I could see Saltbox, Gingerbread, ASHA & Changes to name but a few, and with more than 25 organisations represented overall there are obviously far more than those that I’ve mentioned. I felt so humbled to be part of a community that has been such a key facilitator in flexible, multi-organisational working in Stoke-on-Trent, as it is only by working together that we can begin to make real differences in people’s lives.
My favourite part of the event was undoubtedly being able to launch the “100 Friends” campaign. Having worked on the campaign for the past few months as part of Foodbank’s communications team, it was so fantastic (and somewhat of a relief!) to finally get things off the ground. The idea is simple. We are asking our volunteers and supporters to each find one person they can encourage to become a ‘friend of foodbank’ and commit to regular financial giving. We need these commitments in order to become a more self-sustaining charity and to be able to plan more effectively for our future, so please get thinking about the people in your life who might be interested in becoming a friend of foodbank. To get your hands on an information pack, get in touch with the foodbank team at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, to hear during the formal AGM meeting that Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank is now considered to be an example of ‘best practice’ by the Trussell Trust Regional Development Coordinator was the cherry on top of a fantastic day. Our annual report demonstrated that we support our guests with so much more than food; with practical advice through Saltbox’s ‘Money Matters’ for example; with healthy eating & living information through ‘Cook & Eat’ sessions; with Christmas hampers and time and most importantly, a listening ear.
Nevertheless, there is still work to be done. If we want to continue supporting those in the greatest need across the city, we need to engage even more people in the work that we do. So whatever you can do, do it for Stoke-on-Trent Foodbank and help us to support local people in crisis!