Food for thought…
“It’s really good to be able to feed people and provide this basic support, especially with a smile.” – service user volunteer.
Food poverty in the UK is a growing issue with more and more people turning to foodbanks. Over 900,000 people in the UK were given a three-day emergency food package by Russell Trust foodbanks in 2013-2014. That number is nearly triple what it was the year before.
Justlife is not a food bank, but we recognise that most of our service users live in food poverty. In both Manchester and Brighton at Justlife we host a hot meal every week for our service users. A lot of our service users don’t have access to a kitchen, so a hot meal is often not an option. It also gives them the opportunity to have a sit down meal with other people, building friendships.
Justlife originally started as a meal drop in and grew from there, offering more help to their service users, including; advice, support, health interventions and activities. The meal drop in is often the first point of contact for many of the people that we work with and importantly allows our workers and volunteers to start building relationships with service users. We currently serve between 30 and 40 people at each meal – that’s 30 or 40 people that we are able to start a conversation with and reach out too every week.
With more people than ever needing the services we offer, our sit down meals give us the opportunity to reach out to people who would otherwise avoid asking for help.