Emma Schauf has been supporting Micah Liverpool for the past year and has now returned to America. Before she left she gave us her thoughts…
”I came to Liverpool knowing I was being labelled as a social justice intern. I was moving into a house which was primarily focused on hospitality and social justice and knew my work would reflect the purpose of the house. I knew I would be working one day a week with the Micah Liverpool Food Bank and I was very much looking forward to it. My first day at the food bank, I experienced a mix of emotions. The atmosphere was happy and playful with the volunteers but they were also focused on the task at hand. It was incredible to see such a big operation run so smoothly and even though the purpose of the food bank can be seen as a sad thing, everyone was in wonderful spirits, really loving their job.
Through the first few weeks I found myself sitting at a table to write vouchers for the visitors of the food bank. When someone visits us, they are given what is called a voucher. It’s a card printed on A5 paper that has their information on it such as name, size of family, birthday, postcode, dietary needs, and country of origin. Each person needs to come to a table to be issued a voucher for the next week, and to have their voucher for that day looked over before it can be processed, then they can receive their parcel. This role became my permanent job on most food bank days and I thoroughly enjoyed it every time I sat down at my table. I found that the time I spent with the visitors who came to my voucher table, allowed me to form relationships with them and engage in conversation with them. I saw women through their pregnancies and the birth of their children, families through their process of seeking asylum, and men still waiting for their families to come from their home countries. It was incredibly rewarding to be able to bond with some of the visitors who came to us.
My favourite memory from the food bank has to be one attached to a special family. The woman had come to me one week and she didn’t speak much English, from Ghana. She was pregnant but she didn’t know how far along she was so she guessed about 6 months. Her husband wasn’t with her and she wasn’t sure when he was going to get to the U.K. I didn’t see her the next week but the week after I saw her, her husband was with her, and he was pushing a pram! Turned out, she was 8 and a half months pregnant and had given birth to a perfectly healthy girl. The woman had a difficult time in the delivery room but she was on her way to recovery. I got them through the line as quickly as possible so they could all go home and rest. The following week they were back and the baby was awake and the husband asked if I would like to meet their baby girl and hold her. It was incredibly special to me that they wanted me to meet their daughter and they felt comfortable enough with me to let me hold her. She was absolutely beautiful and I will remember holding her for a very long time. They have since been moved to Manchester and I haven’t seen them since but I still think about them and their gorgeous baby girl.
When I return home to the States, I will speak so proudly of the Micah Liverpool Food Bank. I want everyone to know food banks don’t have to be a sombre, stressful environment. The people who come to the food bank in need of food are also in need of human interaction and compassion. They don’t want to be treated like cases or projects they want to be treated like people. The staff of Micah do an amazing job of finding volunteers who absolutely make sure to treat each visitor with compassion and respect and it was an honour and a pleasure to be apart of the Micah Liverpool Food Bank community.”
Emma was a great presence at the Food bank and will be sorely missed by all the staff and volunteers at Micah Liverpool, and we wish her the best of luck in all future endeavours.