THERE’S no let up in sight – that’s the verdict of the Rev Robin Baker, the man behind Redditch’s big-hearted charity Acts of Kindness.
This year volunteers from AoK have filled hundreds of hampers and sent out vouchers and toys for Christmas to the borough’s needy – all donated through the generosity of local people.
But the Rev Baker says there is no end in sight of the demand and the need is growing as we enter 2019.
“We have not bottomed out yet,” he said.
“I still think people, especially those with disabilities – some have been told they don’t have enough points to appeal decisions on their benefits – are going to find themselves in difficulty.”
Such is the demand AoK is hoping some businesses will come forward and help sponsor Redditch foodbank, based at St Stephen’s Church, to open for a fifth day in the week.
“We need about £4,500 a year to do it, to make it sustainable, and we could do with a couple of companies to sponsor us for a couple of years to make it work, because we don’t want to open up and then have to close it down,” said Rev Baker.
“I’m hoping by the end of March we might have something in place.”
He said the role out of the government’s all in one benefits system, Universal Credit, was still having a major impact on local families.
“It’s definitely a major player though I cannot say it’s the only thing – we still have a lot of families just coming through the door,” he said.
However he paid tribute to the enormous well of generosity demonstrated by the people of Redditch in the run-up to Christmas.
“It’s all thanks to the people of this town with people sometimes just turning up with food and toys,” said the Rev Baker.
“This year the demand has been greater but so has the generosity and although it got very tight at the end, and there was less food in the hampers than last year, we did it.
“Every family who we knew of got a hamper, voucher or toys, although of course I am sure there are many more out there who we were not aware of.”
Acts of Kindness is based at the Oasis Christian Centre on the corner of Plymouth Road and Bromsgrove Road.
It runs the Redditch Foodbank through the Trussell Trust and operates all year round, not just at Christmas.
To find out more visit https://aokuk.org.uk/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07847 618539.