News

Gina needed the foodbank and now we need her!

21st October 2021

Meet Gina.

 

Gina is just like you and I. She lives in our community, she has four children, lots of friends and a busy life. Gina has volunteered at Middlewich Food Bank for the last four years. Why? Because she once had cause to use it herself and so she wanted to “give something back to those who helped me”. Four years ago, and completely without warning Gina’s benefits stopped. For weeks, she stressed about stretching the money she had left to pay for the basics, rent, utilities and food. Getting nowhere with the benefits office to understand what had happened, Gina decided to contact her housing officer to explain her situation and ask for advice regarding rent payment. At this point, she was feeling very worried and very hungry. A combination of pride and not wanting to burden her children, Gina decided not to ask for help from her family. Can you imagine? Just for a moment, how that might feel? Thankfully, the housing officer was able to give support and advice. She connected Gina with Middlewich and District Foodbank and provided her with an emergency food voucher. Gina felt extremely anxious and apprehensive about going to the food bank, she was worried about what people would think, but she says ‘when you’re desperate, you’re desperate”. 


When Gina came into the food bank to collect that first parcel, she recalls being met with warmth and empathy, there were even a couple of faces she recognised, which made her feel at ease. She left that day, with three days of emergency food and went home and cried. Tears of relief, happy tears, at last she would be able to eat something. Gina needed three or four food parcels before she was back on her feet, and her immediate thought was that she wanted to help someone else, just like her, to be there for them and offer that warmth and friendship which got her through it. So she volunteered to help. 

 

After years of volunteering, what Gina doesn’t know about the food bank isn’t worth knowing. She’s an absolute rock for the team, offering to step into any role, always with a smile. She’s worked in the warehouse, packed and collected food from supermarkets, and delivered food, but her favourite thing to do is work in the cafe and meet people. Gina is in a position to be able to offer support through her own experience, she’s willing to share as much or as little as people are comfortable with. She understands that, for some people, just coming into the cafe for a chat is enough to turn their day around. She fondly recalls families she has met and helped over the last few years, drinking tea with mums, while their children played; having a little respite from it all. “I’ve been there, I know how it feels and if my story can help someone else, then that makes me happy”

 

“I want people to know that there is no shame in coming to a food bank, there is nothing to feel guilty about. Going to the food bank that first day was the best thing to happen to me at such a difficult time”

 

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If you are hungry and worried about paying your bills or thinking you will have to choose between heating and eating this winter, then please contact us. We can help.

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