Hinckley & Rugby Building Society staff have volunteered at Christ the King Church foodbank in Leicester over the summer holidays, providing support during an extremely busy period while the foodbank helped with Marcus Rashford’s free school meal campaign, otherwise known as the Holiday Hunger Scheme.
The campaign, which began in June 2020, saw footballer Marcus Rashford MBE bring the issue of food poverty to the forefront, following his own experiences as a child. Since the launch of the Holiday Hunger Scheme, £396 million of funding has been provided by the government so children can continue to receive free school meals during the holidays, which is how this volunteering opportunity arose.
The foodbank was looking for support while it facilitated the addition of packing lunches over the holidays, and was in touch with local charity Leicestershire Cares to round up a team of volunteers – which is where Hinckley & Rugby came in.
Staff took part in co-ordinating deliveries, sorting items and making food packs for collection – they were delighted to be involved in what they said was a rewarding yet eye-opening experience on how many people face food poverty.
Carla Loughrey, Assistant Marketing & PR Manager at Hinckley & Rugby Building Society said:
“It was great volunteering at the foodbank, the people who run it were so welcoming and told me all about how it has evolved over the years and how they coped through lockdown. It was so heartening to hear about all the people and organisations that make this vital service possible through their hard work and desire to help others. They even pass on food that is not suitable for food packages to a local animal rescue centre, so nothing goes to waste, what a fantastic idea!”
Louise Goodenough, Business Development Administrator at Hinckley & Rugby Building Society, said:
“I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and would love to volunteer again. It was very eye opening how so many people rely on this service to just feed their family. The appreciation and the smiles on their faces for something we would take for granted was so humbling. I found it a really rewarding way to give back to the community.”
Michelle Tong, GRC Co-ordinator at Hinckley & Rugby Building Society, said:
“I wanted to volunteer as I felt the more people that got involved, the more we would help to spread the word about the importance of foodbanks. I believe there’s a much bigger issue than people may realise, which has clearly increased through the pandemic. The people who work there every day are volunteers, some working seven days a week. I found them to be warm, caring, and taking real pride in what they were doing. Without the foodbanks goodness knows how people in need would cope, they do an amazing job.”
Neetu Squire, Head of Community Development at Leicestershire Cares, said:
“Leicestershire Cares provided support to the foodbank over the summer holidays to help with the Holiday Hunger Scheme, which saw hundreds of healthy packed lunches and fun activity packs provided to local disadvantaged children.
“Through this period the foodbank continued to offer its usual services to local families, so it has been incredibly busy, meaning the help provided by organisations such as Hinckley & Rugby Building Society has been really valuable.”
Learn more about Christ the King Church Foodbank here.