Guest article

Food and drink manufacturers invited to back GroceryAid

By Steve Barnes.

- Last updated on GMT

GroceryAid boss Steve Barnes invites food and drink manufacturers to support the charity
GroceryAid boss Steve Barnes invites food and drink manufacturers to support the charity

Related tags: Industry

I have now been in my role as chief executive of GroceryAid for 14 months and that time has truly flown, writes Steve Barnes.

It has proved to be an amazing job in many ways, but most of all because I get to see the best of colleagues working in our industry.

It is humbling to see the time and effort put in by so many industry leaders to support GroceryAid. This is an industry experiencing unprecedented pressures and for individuals and companies to still find a variety of ways to back the industry charity is inspiring.

Our volunteers never cease to amaze me. These span from those visiting our beneficiaries in all weathers, to those joining our branches, networks and committees to raise funds and to those on our steering groups helping us move forward in challenging times.

Never cease to amaze me

I have been most struck though by the qualities of those we help. They are proud of their service in our industry, hugely grateful for the assistance we provide and often reluctant to take all the support they are entitled to. We are delighted we can be there for them in times of crisis.

It reminds me that in many ways that (despite the ferociously competitive nature of our industry) we are all part of a grocery family. It is a caring family and that is why at our GroceryAid Ball on March 9 2018, we will be bringing together many industry leaders to demonstrate collegiate support for GroceryAid and the work we do.

In Polish alongside English

I am also convinced that we have to try even harder to make sure as many of our colleagues working in food manufacturing know about GroceryAid and feel welcome as part of the family. That is why we will be rolling out collateral into factories and depots throughout the UK in Polish alongside English.

We will ensure Helpline support is available in Polish as well as information on our website. I still would love volunteers from the food manufacturing sector to help us roll this out to best effect and if you would like to be involved with this initiative, then please contact me​.

Meanwhile, read an example of how GroceryAid​ can change lives in the box below.

Real lives, real problems, real help

GroceryAid receives many letters of thanks from beneficiaries, which illustrate the impact of the help that can be provided. We received recently this letter from Charlie, whose real name has been reserved to protect confidentiality.

“I don't know where to start to be honest as we've only just been referred to GroceryAid, but what you've done, is amazing. I met my husband in our early 20s, fell in love, got married, had two wonderful daughters and up to now, two wonderful grandsons.

“But in November 2016, our world fell apart, when he became seriously ill, requiring intensive care, tubes and wires. It was awful. The hospital told me to gather the family. as the first 48 hours were critical.

“Luckily enough, he’s a fighter and after nearly five months he pulled through and finally came home, that's when reality hits. All the bills had piled up, no jobs, basic income, it became a struggle. The arguments started and the stress became unbearable. Then our rent intervention officer advised us of GroceryAid as he’d previously worked in the grocery industry for the last 10 years before getting poorly.

“GroceryAid took us as beneficiaries and although it's early stages, you've been amazing. We cannot express our thanks enough, we are now slowly rebuilding our lives and for the first time in months, it feels like there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

”Thank you GroceryAid.”

  • GroceryAid​ is the trading name of the National Grocers Benevolent Fund.

 

Related topics: People, Fresh produce, Retailing Crisis

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