We are offering people in need a hand-up, not a hand-out
- Credit: Picture: Simon Horn.
Exmouth Community Larder aims to help people in a genuine food emergency, writes guest columnist Anthony Bernard
With increased demand, the foodbank objective remains to provide supplies to people in a genuine 'food emergency', but also to ensure active support to recover from their 'underlying crisis'.
Referrals from statutory bodies, such as EDDC, Devon CC and the NHS imply that the situation is known and monitored. Also, the Citizen's Advice Bureau, the Open Door Centre and Action for Children (the old Children's Centre) are active in providing advice and support to people in trouble.
Anyone is welcome to come to the Foodbank after encouragement from schools, churches, GP practices and others and we will help them with their food emergency, but further visits will need a referral from an agency evidencing that they are engaging with support to overcome their problem.
Thank you for the generous level of donations from the community, but we are aware of the foodbank's responsibility to use this to give needy people a 'hand-up', not just an easy 'hand-out'!!
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Some visitors do give us cause for concern, but our stated policy from the outset was that it is better to give people the benefit of any doubt than to risk leaving hungry people without food.
Of more concern are people who truly need help but who do not reach us. After seven years, most people probably know where we are, but some feel awkward asking for help. Our answer is not to feel embarrassed at asking for help - the time to feel embarrassed is when back on their feet and failing to give something to others.
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We have people truly needing help but failing to engage with support; we have people who become volunteers while still needing help; inevitably there are some who take advantage; addictions to drink, gambling or drugs need treatment and help. Hey-Ho. Life is not always clear cut.