"For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines.
These are but the beginning of the birth pains."
Source: Mark's Gospel Chapter 13 verse 8
There are several occasions where our Bible talks of earthquakes. Literally where the ground beneath us trembles and sometimes tears itself apart.
At Blandford Food Bank "Plus" we see many clients that have experienced an earthquake in their lives. What was thought to be certain has broken, what was relied upon has been shaken.
Instances of broken relationships, job losses, mental health crisis and physical disabilities are common stories resulting in hardship and sometimes poverty.
This is where the Food Bank can step in and offer support: materially in food parcels: financially with debt management, and with our Christian Buddies, we can offer friendship and compassion.
This is the joy of being God's disciples, to bring hope – to just be there and to listen and support those that the Lord brings before us.
Faithworks Wessex is the charity that supports Blandford Food Bank"Plus" and where we offer a Community Money Advice (CMA) service that provides support to people who have problems paying their bills. CMA follow a process approved by the Financial Conduct Authority and will always keep your information confidential.
The Food Bank has very close connections with Citizens Advice, Sovereign Housing Association, Victim Support, REACH, (for addictions), You Trust, Wise Ability (jobs), The Wardrobe Foundation (ladies clothing), Blandford Cares (clothing and home items), and several others. These collaborations enable the Food Bank to signpost clients to the organisations that can best assist them.
We can visualise a food bank client like an orange. Once you remove the peel you see several segments that make up the orange. Such as homelessness, joblessness, victims of abuse, addictions, etc. Any one of these can lead to debt and worries about money. Which is why the Food Bank "Plus" has, over many years develped working relationships with organisations that will assist.
Can you imagine how hard it is for a client to begin their journey of confessing, wanting change and seeking help. Please pray for the Food Bank team of staff and volunters as they continue to be God's disciples in this "front-line" work for God's Kingdom.
Clients need a vouchers for food parcels. These can be obtained from a GP, Citizens Advice, local schools or Social Housing offices. Please ask at the Food Bank if you are unsure.
If you have got behind on your payments for bills or owe money to banks and other organisations, then we are here to help.
Trained Personal Budget Coaches and Debt Advisors work with you to prepare a simple budget showing your weekly income and expenses.
If you have any unpaid bills then we work out how much you can afford to make repayments.
Your personal budget coach can also check that you are receiving the right level of benefits.
Sometimes your budget coach will refer your case to one of our Debt Advisers who may negotiate with your creditors to find a way of making your repayments more affordable.
Universal Credit is being rolled out in the DT11 post code area.
All new claiments for benefits will now be claiming Universal Credit. The Job Centre Plus is open in Blandford on Tuesdays and Thursdays to help claiments with their benefits and hopefully find work for those who are seeking employment.
The Food Bank offers help to Ukrainian families with food parcels, meat and shoe vouchers. And can signpost families to The Wardrobe Foundation (ladies clothing) and Blandford Cares (even more clothing. A "help leaflet" in the Ukrainian language will soon be available to those arriving into Blandford Forum to signpost them to help that is on their doorstep.
More help for Ukranian families can be found at https://blandfordwelcome.group/
If you or you know of anyone interested in volunteering a few hours per week, giving administrative help or being trained to give debt advice, or interested in becoming part of the Chrisitan Buddy Team then please contact John Cornish.