Mansfield Foodbank gears up for busy Christmas season

Volunteer Pauline Evans
Volunteer Pauline Evans

The thought of Mansfield families relying on foodbanks at any time of year is awful, but the thought of people needing foodbanks at a joyful time like Christmas seems worse.

A group of volunteers are currently in the midst of their busiest season for foodbanks.

As demand grows for their services, the team of over 20 volunteers at the Trussell Trust foodbank at The Stables Centre, Mansfield Woodhouse, are busy preparing food parcels, and speaking to people who need their help.

Kate Miller, a volunteer at the centre said: "People are living on the edge, many have no savings and are in debt because of the constant pressure to be a perfect parent.

"We do see mainly families, and our stock goes so quickly."

The Stables Centre, on Church Street houses a cafe, which is also manned by volunteers, where anyone who is referred to the foodbank can have a seat and a drink while they speak to the volunteers.

Keith Hadfield, project manager at the Stables said: "We're always manic at Christmas, as we shut for two weeks.

"It's obvious when someone comes to us and they're in dire need, why would they come to a foodbank otherwise?

"We have great volunteers, about 20 or 30 now.

"All food we have donated is kept here, so it is a logistical nightmare.

"Last year we struggled to cope with demand on December 21, which was our last day before Christmas.

"It feels like the foodbank has got busier, it's tragic."

The users are referred to the foodbank by agencies such as schools, doctors surgeries, councils and sure start centres.

They then come to the cafe to speak to a volunteer, who will have a chat about what they need.

More volunteers then gather the items to make a care package, which usually includes food, toiletries, and nappies, if needed.

The Trussell Trust, the charity who are responsible for the foodbank, provide volunteers with guidelines of how to make up nutritionally balanced food parcels, that will see families through at least three days.

The foodbank need more space for storage, as they currently keep an overflow of stock in a storage unit, which costs the charity money.

The Stables also store supplies for other foodbanks, so storage space is often an issue.

The Stables are looking for volunteers, not just in the foodbank, but in the administration team and to fetch donations.

If you wish to donate to the Foodbank, there is a collection point at Tesco on Oak Tree Lane.

If you have any suitable storage space that the foodbank could utilise, would like to volunteer or find out more, please contact Keith on info@sherwoodforest.foodbank.org.uk