Last week Ed Palairet spent a day at the Food PLUS Centre (not foodbank) at Inns Court, Knowle West. The day started with weighing donated foods that had arrived just in time to replenish the shelves; then helping clients choose from the different food categories within their allowance.
Soon he was sitting in on a whirlwind of interviews with clients from South Bristol where the Centre manager uncovered the causes and consequences of the crises that led these individuals or families to need food aid. The interviews aimed to identify other resources that could help at this time of crisis in their lives – for example accessing budgeting help or malnourished people being referred to a nutritionist on site.
The team of volunteers includes John and Val Blake, who led the Lee Abbey Knowle West Small Missional Community between 2008 and 2012. Most of the food donations for this Centre come from the local churches. A big “thank you” to Lee Abbey Friends who have sent donations for the Food PLUS Centre in the past. Ed felt that the interviews exposed many injustices facing people here and now; people who right now are choosing between paying for food or paying for heating.
The Matthew Tree Project uses data from the interviews (data that previously did not exist) to inform policy makers.