A presentation given to the Rotary Club of Oswestry on Mon 16th October 2017 at 12.30 – 14.00
In June 2016 Liz Jermy became the new manager of the Oswestry & Borders Foodbank. Liz is no stranger to the foodbank as she was previously a family support worker in a primary school for a few years, issuing foodbank vouchers to families in need.
Opened in November 2011, Oswestry and Borders Foodbank provides emergency food and support for people in crisis in and around Oswestry with premises also in Ellesmere to aid distribution.
Liz Jermy, their manager since June 2016, was the speaker at a recent meeting of Oswestry Rotary Club when she told members: “The foodbank feeds over 30 people from our local community each week, every week helping people who cannot afford to feed themselves and their families. With many families already only just managing on tight budgets an event like redundancy or illness can push them to the edge.”
“We do as much as we can to gather stocks; in this harvest season, we are very grateful to receive food collections from nurseries, schools and churches and see our stock levels rise to meet the expected demands of the Christmas season ahead.” Liz said. “Supermarket collections, the Fairshare partnership which allows us to redistribute food ‘waste’ from retailers and cash donations to our emergency fund also help greatly.”
All the people who work at the Foodbank are volunteers, including Liz who was accompanied by Foodbank helpers John and Caroline Piffe-Phelps. Caroline said: “I have been a volunteer since we opened in 2011 whilst John now has the responsiblity of stock control of the food stored in our container. As you can imagine, monitoring the use by dates is very important.”
Seeking to do more to assist the people who come to them for help, through a partnership between Christians Against Poverty Steps to Employment, the Hope and Albert Road Church and Shropshire Town and Rural Housing, a Job Club is now running at the Foodbank to give Oswestry residents who are currently out of work the extra support to find employment. “Open to everyone, Job Club takes place every Tuesday lunchtime. Subjects covered include motivation, overcoming obstacles, writing a CV and preparing for interviews. It is good to be able to offer something else.” Liz said. “We also have an arrangement with Sainsbury’s where twice per month we are able to offer out of date flowers to Foodbank clients. It is amazing how a little thing like that can raise spirits.”
An additional contribution to Foodbank funds was made at the meeting by Lee Barnfield who presented Liz with £150 from the sponsored cycle ride from Oswestry to Combs la Ville that he and his 3 Team Smells Like Toast friends made last spring together with a donation from the Rotary Club funds. Thanking Lee for their efforts Liz said: “Every donation received helps us ease the strain of financial hardship – thank you.”