Volunteers Week 2023: Food bank explains the importance of volunteering
Local people who have been giving up their time to provide a lifeline for those in need speak about the importance of volunteering during Volunteers Week.
Peter and Linda Leaver help run a local food bank at the South Oxhey Baptist Church, which is supported by Three Rivers District Council, for vulnerable people to access essential food as well as cleaning products, toiletries, and baby supplies.
The food bank on Gosforth Lane has been going for over 10 years and was set up by the main food bank in Watford, which is part of the Trussell Trust, after identifying a strong demand in the area.
Pre-Covid, the food bank saw up to 30 people a month for food but after the pandemic hit the number of food parcels given out has risen to over 200 a month.
While the South Oxhey food bank is only open two days a week, Peter and Linda along with up to six other volunteers distribute food parcels to people collecting from the church and also use the van to deliver about five days a week to peoples’ homes, delivering food and supplies or helping people who cannot collect.
Peter said that they also receive help from volunteers from other organisations that come to drop off food and supplies at the food bank or help make deliveries.
He said: “If we didn’t have all the people coming in and helping us, then the people in need would suffer tremendously. They depend on the food bank.”
His wife Linda, who has been volunteering for over 30 years, said: “The volunteers at the food bank and from other organisations have been amazing and it’s incredible to see the community coming together to help people, especially during the cost-of-living crisis.
“Being a volunteer for about three decades, volunteering is often unseen and hard work, but it makes a huge difference to local communities and to the people who need a lifeline.
“Volunteers Week is a great way to celebrate and say a huge thank you to those who take the time out to help others. Thank you to all who do it.”
If you would like to explore volunteering opportunities at your local food bank, click here.
PHOTO CAPTION: (From left) Linda Leaver, Sonia Mullings - Team Member and Administration - and Peter Leaver.