As I write this it’s just under 1 year that the UK went in to lockdown for the first time, everything seemed a little bit scary and we were entering the unknown as country and Micah was entering the unknown as a social justice charity.
On the 23rd of March 2020 the Prime Minister announced a full UK Lockdown and on the 24th March Micah Liverpool had a foodbank to run that would feed around 30 to 40 people. I have recently reflected on that Tuesday morning, all the Micah staff and a handful of cathedral staff and volunteers who wanted to help surrounded me. We had a very difficult conversation about whether we were able to run our foodbanks safely. This is where I must doff my hat to the amazing staff Micah & Liverpool Cathedral has, as there was a determination to help others and the work of our food aid coordinator to ensure we were able to continue was exemplary.
Those first 6 weeks went by in a blur, so many offers of support, so many food donations and so many campaigns set up to support foodbanks… The streets were quiet, the people were scared and it felt like an apocalypse film BUT we were there helping people. We got a lot of support and our numbers did increase in the first lock down, but it can’t last much longer we thought… It’s downhill from here.
Along came that glorious summer and our jobs became a lot more light-hearted, people had gotten over the initial fears and the R Rate was the big topic of conversation wherever you went… “0.7 to 0.9 that’s good were slowing the spread”… “The North West is 1.3 you know”… “It will come down, the pandemic has run its course” how little we knew. Between June and September is when we started to feel the increase and we went from providing 200 parcels per week to 300 parcels per week a noticeable increase. At that point we thought that’s as bad as its going to get, there were a lot of food aid charities doing a lot of other work and we thought we had peaked and it was all downhill from September onwards.
News of a vaccine comes a long late on in the year and Christmas is on the horizon, sandwiched in between 2 lockdown periods. At Christmas we are always full of Christmas cheers and the vaccine gave us hope. Yes our numbers rose further throughout December but that happens every year, it won’t sustain we thought and we weren’t expecting our numbers to increase from then on… it really must be downhill from here… it wasn’t!
Almost one year on from the announcement of lock down and we have just had a foodbank session that gave 397 parcels in 4 hours at St Brides Church add to that the 75 at St Vincent’s church 2 days before and we are providing more than twice the amount of parcels we provided just 51 weeks before, Unbelievable… its unbelievable that we are able to do so and I couldn’t not thank our donors, funders and volunteers more but it’s unbelievable that we have to provide so many food parcels it’s also unsustainable for us and all of the other food aid charities to carry on at this level . . . “there is light at the end of the tunnel” that’s what I keep saying to myself and others. There is a roadmap out of this pandemic now but the people we support still need help not just from us but with so many other aspects of their lives. Micah Liverpool has given over 400 food parcels per week for the last 3 weeks… It must be downhill from here… it’s got to be.