Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell and his wife Rebecca rolled up their sleeves to help out at York Foodbank.
They stepped in to support the foodbank at St Joseph’s Church in York on Monday (May 8) – meeting with staff and volunteers, as well as people visiting the foodbank – as they joined in national day of volunteering the Big Help Out.
Archbishop Stephen and Rebecca, the Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, heard how York Foodbank relies on the generosity of the York community, but how the need for support is greater than ever before.
More than 9,500 emergency food parcels were distributed in York during 2022/23, with nearly half of them – 4,092 – going to children.
Archbishop Stephen said: “It’s been a joy for me and my wife Rebecca to help out with volunteers for York Foodbank this afternoon as part of the Big Help Out. The team here are doing an amazing job.
“Serving and helping others has been a key theme of the coronation weekend, so I am praying that this love for others and for the communities we live in, will shine through. And, if you haven’t given volunteering a try yourself, be inspired and encouraged. We can all make a difference.”
Adam Raffell, manager of the York Foodbank, said: “We were excited to welcome the Archbishop and Rebecca Cottrell, who rolled up their sleeves and helped out on this day of national volunteering to mark the King’s Coronation.
“In joining us today, they’re recognising the enormous contribution of the 140 regular volunteers giving their time week on week to welcome people into our host churches, as well as collecting, packing, sorting, and transporting food across the city!”
Rebecca said: “Today it’s been lovely for Stephen and I to join in with the dedicated volunteers here at St Joseph’s Church and at the warehouse preparing food parcels. It’s been such a friendly and welcoming place and we were delighted to bring with us a small contribution for the foodbank on behalf of staff at Archbishop Stephen’s Office.”
Jessica Foster, head of church engagement at the Trussell Trust, said: “The staff and volunteers at York foodbank are incredibly important to us, and we could not continue the work we do without them.
“It never fails to amaze us how much time people are willing to give, and this has never been more apparent than during the past year when so many more people have needed help. Our volunteers have worked tirelessly, under incredibly challenging circumstances.
“An emergency food parcel and compassionate, practical advice can make all the difference to someone facing crisis. We would like to thank all our volunteers for giving so much.”
A typical emergency food parcel consists of items such as cereal, tinned fruit and vegetables, canned meat and fish, tea, coffee, biscuits, UHT milk, pasta and rice amongst other items. A food parcel is designed to last a household for three days, and food banks offer access to other support such as benefit advice.
York Foodbank is currently running low on tinned fruit, fruit juice and squash, jam, and sponge puddings.
If you want to find out more about the work of York Foodbank, and to find out how you could volunteer or donate to support their work, visit: https://york.foodbank.org.uk