HEART-BREAKING stories about financial hardship and personal misery are a way of life at Mossley Foodbank.
Stories such as a single mother who did not qualify for universal credit and unable to find a job, who was unable to afford to buy any Christmas presents.
“This is a typical case that happens all over the town,” explained Peter Dickson who, together with Maureen Darraugh, formed the volunteer-run foodbank in 2013.
“It is tough and you don’t forget about the people you meet when you walk out of the door. We live in the community and see them daily.
“It is rewarding but I feel guilty running a foodbank and doing the Government a favour.”
Peter, 62, added it is rewarding helping those less fortunate and he has been “overwhelmed” by the quantity of donated items, especially over the Christmas period.
They receive regular donations from Mossley AFC Running Club, St Joseph’s and St John’s churches, Emmaus, Mossley Co-op, Mossley Post officer, schools and clubs as well as from individuals.
Mossley’s foodbank, which comes under the umbrella of Micklehurst Estate Residents’ Association, is different to others as Peter explained “We are not linked to bigger foodbanks and are totally donation run.
“It is surprising the number of people who don’t know we are here.”
Volunteers includes Cllrs Jack Homer and Frank Travis, pictured above.
Peter said: “We don’t do it to seek publicity for ourselves, but want it for the foodbank and to let people know we are here.”
Apart from food, it received a large number of toys following a successful bid to radio station Key 103’s Mission Christmas and clothing from Jigsaw, the landlord for homes on Micklehurst Estate.
The foodbank, that opens between 10am and noon each Thursday, operates from Mossley Youth Base at The Rowans on Micklehurst Estate.
Peter explained clients are referred to them by doctors, Jigsaw housing and welfare rights groups.
He added the public ought not to be afraid to seek their help.
Peter said: “There is embarrassment, but we try to keep it open and friendly.
“We know families who need help but don’t come here. They should come as we are here to help.
“We also reach out to schools and, with the help of headteachers and pastoral manager, identify families that need help.
“We usually find a couple from each school and will drop off parcels to save embarrassment.”
Peter added double parcels were given out to families over Christmas and New Year.
Once the festive season was over, the volunteers were keen to replenish their stock which comprises tinned, dried and packet food and powdered milk. They don’t have storage facilities for fresh food.
Whereas most companies welcome an increase in business, that is not the case at Mossley Foodbank where that means more personal hardship and misery.
And in 2019 the foodbank will be expanding with a new collection point at The Lighthouse in Top Mossley.
Peter, who does not work because of long-term health issues, has been impressed by the community spirit in Mossley.
He said: “In times of adversity, people come together and that has happened in Mossley.
“When you work you are in a bubble and don’t see what else is going on in the community, something that happened to me.
“I have met so many people and made new friends since working at the foodbank.”
Cllr Travis added it is a sad indictment that renowned artist Harry Rutherford painted a picture in 1929 entitled foodbank Mossley, pictured above.
“Ninety years on and we are still faced with the same problems that were prevalent in the 1920s which you would not expect,” he said.
• Mossley Foodbank is in desperate need of donations of tinned meat, tea, coffee, long-life milk, sugar, packet mashed potato, tinned beans/spaghetti, tinned vegetables, toothpaste, toilet rolls, and baby items.
There are drop-off points at Mossley Food Bank at Mossley Youth Base, The Rowans, Mossley every Thursday from 10am-12pm.
Alternatively you can drop off items at Emmaus Mossley, Mossley Co-op, Mossley Running Club (at Mossley AFC, Seel Park), St Josephs Church, and St Johns Church.