Usually visitors to Southampton City Mission’s food bank walk in clutching the pink voucher they have been given by the agency that referred them to us. Today, however, a lady came in without a voucher, and looked around as if she wasn’t quite sure what to do or who to speak to. It turned out that she wanted to make a donation to the food bank and was wondering what type of items we were after. After thanking her for her generosity, one of the volunteers took the woman aside to tell her more about the items we distribute.
Once the lady had left, my colleague told me a lovely story. The woman’s mother had recently died, leaving behind her four children. Apparently their family wasn’t particularly well off when they were growing up, but every week when she was out shopping, the woman’s mother bought something to give to the food bank. Upon their mother’s death, her children had got together and decided they’d like to continue supporting SCM as a way of honouring and remembering their mum, and told us they wanted to make regular donations from now on.
We were all touched, of course, and chuffed that people had chosen to help a local organisation, rather than just writing a cheque for a national charity. I think one of the great things about food bank donations is that they are more concrete and ‘real’ than sticking some loose change into a tin, or sponsoring a friend to climb a mountain. When you spend money on buying something for a food bank, you know exactly what will happen to your donation and what your money is providing. Perhaps that sense of immediacy is one reason people give so generously to organisations like SCM.