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September 2, 2020

Open every day!

by keith316

Thankfully, lock down has eased, and millions of people are trying to adjust to a new way of life, while observing the 2-metre rule and wearing face masks. . It has been a tough five months and we live with the prospect of another national or local lock down.

At the food bank we have been carrying on ‘as normal’. We have been able to offer the usual service and in response to the crisis, we extended our opening hours to five days a week. We had one minor blip when we had to close for a week due to one of our team contracting a mild dose of the virus.

There is no doubt that Covid-19 has had a tremendous impact on our community, our nation and the rest of the world. It is the invisible enemy and we have no idea who, among those we encounter may have the virus!

I have to say that I have been totally amazed at the reaction of our local West Bromwich community.  We have had people volunteering to deliver food, volunteers working in the food bank centre and others offering to help in whatever way they can.

West Bromwich Albion have played a great part in supporting the community by delivering food parcels and collecting from supermarkets and dropping them off to us and other food banks. Even though the crisis appears to be receding, they are still hard at work!

We have had total strangers at the food bank, dropping off donations and saying they will be back with more. Senior citizens have been donating food or finance with a smile on their faces.

Local councils often get a bad press, but our Sandwell Council have been truly brilliant! From opening an emergency food hub and operating a residents crisis line to altering the way they work (often from home) they have played a vital part in the crisis. Due to the relaxing of restrictions, the emergency food hub has now closed.

Faith organisations have also played their part by providing food from their places of worship or donating direct to the food banks.

At the beginning of August, West Bromwich Town Bid launched a big appeal to local business to donate to the food bank. The appeal runs the whole of August and we have already received a generous donation from the staff of BT based in the town and from the West Bromwich Building Society. The Town Bid also launched a just giving appeal which so far totals £360. All proceeds from this will be used to purchase food which will be delivered direct to us.

The crisis has had me researching into ways of making it easier for our partner agencies to refer their clients to us. We are conscious that due to the lock down we have missed probably many people who were unable to access the support they needed. Our thinking at the moment is to launch an on line referral system where referrals from agencies are delivered direct to the food bank by email.

As ever, I cannot finish this post without thanking our volunteer team. They have been working really hard and nothing has been too much trouble. I am thankful every day for the and the commitment they have shown to supporting the local community.

Stay safe and well!

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