It began as a spirited attempt to bring some relief to the scores of Cumbernauld people unable to find the money for food for themselves or their families – a venture launched “on a wing and a prayer”.
Now Cumbernauld’s Bethlehem House of Bread foodbank is getting set to mark its fifth anniversary on Monday (September 19), and prime mover Norma Cowan wants to thank everyone who has turned her grass roots community effort into a local lifeline,
The situation in Cumbernauld was already serious when Norma and her husband, committed Christians, decided to do something that would make a difference.
Norma has many stories of what some people have endured as they struggle to survive on low or even no incomes.
She has regularly said that changes to benefit and the drastic cut in funds caused by sudden redundancy were among the reasons why so many people were finding themselves having to choose between paying bills and buying food.
Norma has always played down her own central role in the effort, and has always been the first to heap praise on generous local people – including many school pupils – who have donated vital supplies or volunteered to help bag up and distribute the goods.
She wishes there was no need for any food bank, but in Cumbernauld the need has been pressing and obvious, and the solution hard to find.
“I thought all our supporters might like to know what we have achieved in Cumbernauld through the help and contributions we received,” she said, reviewing last year’s achievements.
“We served over 1,500 food parcels into Cumbernauld. Our Friendship Cafe, which Craighalbert Church runs, served over 3,000 meals.
“The clothes and textiles table which (volunteers) David and Alathia run gave countless amounts of goods to those in need.
“Our toiletries and baby goods table, which is manned by pupils from Greenfaulds and Our Ladies High School, served over 1,500 familie4s.
“Our second food bank opened in the Parish Churh in the Village, with a Friendship Cafe also serving those in need every Friday.
“The creche area entertained countless children on a Thursday; and at Christmas we served over 120 exceptional food parcels and gifts for every man, woman and child.
“Thanks to everyone who contributed, and our magnificent volunteers who work freely to provide for others in our community – we value each and every one of you: God bless.”
If you would like to go along and help Norma and her friends celebrate the success of a major local community endeavour you can get in touch with House of Bread on 07737999104.