CARITAS SOCIAL ACTION AWARDS:
On Wednesday evening, 2 June, 2021 during Volunteer Week, Caritas Westminster hosted their first Social Action Awards ceremony – on line – of course. There were four categories of awards. The volunteers at Copenhagen Street Foodbank received a Parish Social Outreach Award for “their outstanding commitment and contribution as volunteers and making a difference to those in need”. Congratulations!
Civic Award for Food Bank at Blessed Sacrament Church, London, England.
On Thursday, 22 April, Sister Miriam Bruder was privileged to accept the Mayor of Islington’s Civic Award on behalf of the 30 volunteers at Copenhagen Street Foodbank Making the nomination, one of our local councilors said:
“I’m honoured that, as the 3 Caledonian Ward Cllrs, we have nominated the organising team at Copenhagen Street Food Bank which is located in the basement hall at Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic church: Sister Miriam Bruder, Attracta Roden, Joan Sampson, Sister Paulette and Tanya Levett … and all the others who have volunteered and helped.
The team at Copenhagen Street has built a vital voluntary community service. But it’s much more than that.
Over the past three years, with very limited resources, but great commitment, they’ve developed a weekly drop-in facility, providing food and other essential items in these tough times. They’ve done so for our vulnerable local residents; and for those of our families that suddenly find their earnings no longer stretch as far as they used to; but more than that, the Food Bank has also reached out to that wider population around Kings Cross, people who have fallen on very hard times, who have no secure place to live, or who have very uncertain sources of income and support.
That’s because Copenhagen Street is not just a food bank in the way many people understand. They’re also providing personal attention and care; treating people with dignity and compassion”.
What Councillor Convery said was as true from our small beginnings in March 2018 as it is with today’s large scale operation. By March, 2020 we were open every two weeks, serving about 60 clients. When the March – June 2020 lockdown came the local Mutual Aid group included our families in their home deliveries. We were allowed to reopen in June 2020, following very strict Covid-secure procedures. Each week we welcome over one hundred individuals or families who receive pre-packed bags of non-perishables and of fresh food thanks to the tireless marathon packing by morning volunteers working in shifts to assure social distancing. Today’s method is a real contrast with our pre-covid way in which we welcomed folks with a “cuppa” and they could self- select what went into their bags. As Cllr. Convery also said, ”… in the past year, when the Pandemic upended so many peoples’ lives, the Food Bank stepped-up and provided.”
Thanks to our wonderful volunteers, both long-standing and new, and the amazing generosity of the public, we hope to continue serving our sisters and brothers in need at the same time as working for changes that make foodbanks less necessary.
When Copenhagen Street Foodbank celebrated its second anniversary on 5 March 2020, little did we know that the way we had operated for two years would soon come to an abrupt halt. Until then, we welcomed 50 – 60 clients fortnightly to have a cuppa, socialise and choose selected items from our “shop”.
Volunteers and supporters with Islington Mayor at Anniversary celebration
Founding Volunteer Committee
During the “stay at home” lock down we could no longer welcome clients and volunteers (many in the “vulnerable” category) into the hall, nor could we have queues on the street. In a fast reorganising, we partnered with the local Mutual Aid Group who delivered food parcels to the residences of those who requested them – at one point they were delivering 110 parcels to people with various needs. Since June, the food bank is again operating out of Blessed Sacrament Church Hall. There are still around 30 home deliveries. Otherwise each Thursday, 1:00 – 3:30 p.m., around 80 individuals or families come and receive, from the hall door, at least two pre-packed food parcels (one fresh food; one non-perishable food and sundries). When we closed in March there were very few families among our clients. Now there are numerous families, some very large.
We continue to benefit from the resources of the Mutual Aid Group, along with local donations and purchases of supplies. Donations of in date nonperishable food are welcome and a box is available at Sunday Mass if you wish to bring them. On Wednesdays from 10:00 – 11:30 and Thursdays from 11:00 to 4:00 there will be volunteers in the hall to receive donations. You may need to use the ramp entrance to the hall off Julius Nyerere Close. If you wish to donate financially, you can use the Copenhagen Street Foodbank tab above
Your prayers for all involved in the food bank are very much appreciated. God has blessed us with good weather each Thursday during the hours that the food bank is open. Please join us in praying for that to continue until we are able have people inside!
Thank you for your support and interest.