Have you ever listened to the words of ‘Away in a manger’ and found the line ‘But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes’, hard to believe? You are not alone. It’s unlikely that in a stable, surrounded by animals, strangers and sleeping on hay, a newborn baby would be silent. Instead, the manger scene was probably full of noise and the chaos that too many visitors bring with them. It was not the perfect scene.
At Christmas, so many of us feel the pressure to deliver what we cannot attain. For some, it may be expensive gifts, perfect relationships, luxurious food. For others, simply providing a meal, valuing family members with a gift, sharing together, feels equally impossible.
At the food bank, we are fortunate to see two sides of the picture. We are overwhelmed by the generosity of a community who seeks to support those facing hardship. We are surrounded by a team of volunteers who will offer their time and effort to help us deliver this service. We also meet those who are facing challenges, struggling to experience the fullness of this season’s joy, by no fault of their own.
This December we have seen some of the highest numbers since the start of the food bank in 2012. With a projected 11% increase in demand for the food bank for the whole of 2023, we are expecting to see lots more families and individuals using our services in coming weeks.
However, Christmas at the food bank isn’t just about acknowledging those who support us generously or meeting clients’ needs. It’s about seeing the essence of Christmas in every session we run. Our clients often go on to share what they have received with their families and friends. Our sessions are not silent or perfect, they are loud and busy and unexpected. And it is there we feel the true Christmas spirit. One which calls us to share and bless those around us.
Dafne, Foodbank Manager