The Ipswich foodbank that had to put out an SOS for volunteers
- Credit: Charlotte Bond
An SOS for volunteers had to be issued after a foodbank became a lifeline for dozens of vulnerable people in a community.
Organisers of the venture on the Nacton estate in Ipswich had planned a small scale project but the take-up saw it grow fast – helping more than 70 people in need.
But now after five months of working hard the team based at Nansen Road Baptist Church has held its final market event as it looks to scale down operations.
They began serving the local community at the end of March, at the beginning of the pandemic.
“I just thought there would be people struggling and some people would not be able to get out,” said Denise Gibbons one of the founders of the foodbank.
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“I just thought about doing a foodbank on a small scale.”
The foodbank did not work on a referral basis and instead relied on those using it to be honest about their needs.
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Ms Gibbons and her sister Dawn Lynch were helped by Morrisons to get the supplies they needed to help feed people in the community.
“They really loved what we were doing,” said Ms Gibbons. “Morrisons were giving us tonnes of food. My sister and I were packing it up and delivering it. We did it for three months.”
After this time it became clear that the sisters would need more help to keep their work going.
“We put an SOS out it got so big,” said Ms Gibbons.
In recent weeks the foodbank has been doing fortnightly food markets from the church where people can come along and get what they need.
“We have had quite a few people turn up,” said Ms Gibbons.
“We’ve helped 60-70 people, maybe more than that. People have been so appreciative and we’ve made lots of friends and contacts.”
The foodbank will continue in a very small form with a store of food being kept at the church for those who are in need.
Morrisons said previously: “At Morrisons, we want to play our full part in feeding the nation and ensure nobody gets left behind.
“This foodbank is a lifeline for the most vulnerable in our community and we’re pleased to be able to help with donations whenever we can.”
After months of helping her community, Ms Gibbons, who has also been balancing her work as a hairdresser, said she would be giving herself some much needed rest.