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Helping restore fortune to those in need
8:40am Friday 27th September 2013 in News
SITTING at a biscuit-covered table with classical music playing over the airwaves, Viv Williams is a picture of calm in a busy foodbank distribution centre.
Viv has volunteered at Swindon Foodbank for three years after going through her own hard times and said she was motivated by that experience to help others.
With a warm smile and a kind manner she sits back, among a crowd of around a dozen clients who are waiting to receive their emergency food bags, to describe her experience working at the charity.
It is her job to oversee that everyone has a voucher, is given two bags full of groceries and has a chance to have a chat, over a hot cup of tea and plate of biscuits, to one of the volunteers.
The retired worker from the NHS said many people who attend their centres feel embarrassed – but they have no reason to.
A few weeks ago a woman came in whose husband had been made unemployed by Honda, had become self-employed and then seriously injured himself, so is now unable to work.
“You hear one amazing story like that about once a month,” said Viv, of Abbey Meads. “It seems so unfair because they are doing all they can and for whatever reason it has not worked out for them.
“I’m just pleased we are here to help them.
“I’ve had times when I was on benefits, so it’s my time to help people now.”
She said many people who use the service during a time of crisis return with future donations or begin volunteering themselves once they are on their feet again.
“Lots of families come in and younger people, too, but not many elderly people,” said Viv, 62.
“If people need food we are here for them. It’s the people of Swindon who make this all possible – without their donations we would not be able to run it.”
The charity has been experiencing an all-time high in terms of the number of people who are turning to it for help. Organisers expect their demand to go up by 40 per cent in the new year.
All of the food distributed to clients is entirely from donations which come from a variety of sources, including schools, churches and individuals.
To raise money and awareness, the foodbank hosts a number of events during the year.
On Saturday, October 5, the charity will throw its first hoedown where crowds will be able to enjoy a hog roast, line dancing and a silent auction.
For more information, visit www.swindonfoodbank.co.uk
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