Is it me, or do the weeks seem to be flying by?  The good thing about today was that it wasn’t raining, so for the 130+ people who came to the Community Fridge this  morning, at least they didn’t have to stand out in the rain - but boy was it cold!  In fact, it felt raw but it was good to hear all the chatting that goes on in the queue outside and then inside when our customers come in.

In the middle of my collage is our new fridge and freezer, which has lights around the outside, so looks very posh - wish I had room to have one like this in my kitchen - it would certainly brighten things up a bit.  

This was purchased with the aid of a grant from the Co-op and Hubbub an organisation that, since 2014, has been designing campaigns that inspire ways of living that are good for the environment.  The Community Fridge Network, of which Gorse Hill Baptist Church Community Fridge is a member, is coordinated by Hubbub, connects fridges across the UK and is a support network for groups running fridges to share knowledge and skills and to ask questions.  

My collage today shows various items that were available at the Community Fridge today - some reduced items, like bread and pies and other items that needed to be sorted before they went out on display.   We had lots of bread, rolls and baguettes today, so they were extra “free”items, so customers could have their five items plus any amount of the free ones and many of them were happy to do this, and of course, this means that the food doesn’t have to go into landfill. 

We had lots of fruit and vegetables, including some avocados, which we don’t often see and who knew that crisps have a use by date on them?  Of course, I had a grotty job when I first arrived - we had about 50 Iceberg lettuces - obviously there isn’t much call for salad items at the moment - well it is rather cold - so many of them were looking, shall we say, “a little tired” - and it was my job to make them look good, which I did with help from Jackie, Carol and Darren, and I noticed that quite a few of these were taken today.  

My funniest conversation was trying to describe to someone whose first language isn’t English, exactly what a mince pie was!  I’m not sure I did a very good job but telling him that they were good as a dessert, slightly warmed, with a blob of yoghourt on the top obviously appealed to him, because he smilingly took a trayful of small pies, and there were about 24 on the tray - so hope he enjoys them!

We were also very fortunate today having donations from many different places and we are so grateful to all those who donated.  I have said before that many friendships are formed whilst people are outside standing in the queue, waiting to come in and although we don’t open until 11 o’clock, when Dianne and I arrive just before 10 o’clock, the queue is often quite long.  I would like to think that the friendship and laughter we also share as they come through the doors helps those who are going through difficult times in their lives.

Not only did we have customers for the Community Fridge, but the Church Hall is also a warm and welcoming space and a wellness café, where a cup of decent, percolated coffee and a cake costs 50p - so much better value than the cafés in town - so several people came in for the warmth and to chat with others.  We also had a nurse there who gave free health check-ups and advice and I also noticed that people were queuing up to have their blood pressure taken.  I think it was probably just as well that the volunteers didn’t have theirs taken, but the nurse was kept very busy!

Unseen by our customers, in the room behind the hall, are the Admin Team and also the Bags of Hope Team and they were very busy today too.

Of course, places like our Community Fridge, all over the country, couldn’t run if it weren’t for the many volunteers, and I know that the Community Fridge Team at Gorse Hill Baptist Church in Swindon are especially grateful to all the volunteers who come on a regular basis.  However, this project would not be so successful if it weren’t for a great Team who all pull together - and we are blessed to have good leadership and encouragement from the top, which makes all the difference!

“If our hopes of building a better 
     and safer world are to become 
          more than wishful thinking, 
               we will need the engagement 
                    of volunteers more than ever.” 
Kofi Annan

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