Volunteering: Celebrating food bank heroes throughout Volunteers’ Week
Article from The Trussell Trust Weekly Network Update 03/06/2021.
Christina has been involved in the Cobham Area Foodbank from its early days in 2013 and took on the role of General Manager in July 2020. Her appointment coincided with a period of unprecedented change and demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but she managed to keep the food bank open every week without fail. Whilst other food banks in the surrounding area closed to focus on deliveries, the Cobham Area Foodbank remained open, providing essential weekly face to face contact for many who were feeling alone during this time.
At the same time, Christina managed a significant increase in home deliveries for those vulnerable clients who were isolating. She oversaw the relocation of all stocks and activities from the warehouse into a Church Hall, where the Distribution Centre relocated, to facilitate easier working between the warehouse and Distribution Centre during the unpredictable months which followed.
With the Warehouse Manager shielding throughout 2020, Christina took over management of the warehouse as well as the Distribution Centre. She oversaw the massive increase in donations and in donors, from individuals to local companies to national supermarkets, and ensured all stock was correctly recorded and stored. As stock levels increased, Christina arranged for additional warehouse space to accommodate additional donations and to provide a safe, appropriately distanced, working environment for volunteers.
The warehouse volunteers worked in a new roster of family teams, with grown-up children and spouses joining in, to reduce the number of households involved and the risk of infection between volunteers. Christina redesigned the Distribution Centre working processes to cope with a reduced number of volunteers, and to maintain social distancing and cleaning to keep everyone safe. She also expanded the number of home deliveries to families who were shielding or unable to get to the Centre. Christina’s efforts have been a shining example of how a community volunteer can lead an operation through a crisis, always focused on meeting the needs of those in crisis, and maintaining the safety of all.
Her resilience, energy and commitment kept everyone going.