Peterborough dad of two recognised for incredible work to help city food bank
A dad of two who stepped up to help Peterborough Foodbank during the pandemic has been praised for his work over the past year.
Gary Peace, who runs his own pest control business, has been using his van to deliver emergency food parcels from Peterborough Foodbank, which is part of the Trussell Trust’s network of food banks, ever since the country first went into lockdown in March 2020.
The 58-year-old joined the team of volunteers in March last year as a way of supporting his local community. With many people shielding or unable to leave their house to come to the food bank, Gary used his work van to help deliver emergency parcels from the food bank to the doorsteps of hundreds of families across Peterborough.
Thanks to the tireless support of people like Gary, the Peterborough foodbank, which has three food bank centres in the area, was able to get as much food as possible to the people who needed it throughout the pandemic, which has been a particularly busy and challenging time.
This week (Tuesday 1 June – Monday 7 June) is Volunteers’ Week and now Gary is being recognised by the Trussell Trust for his outstanding contribution to the cause over the past twelve months, along with the wider team of volunteers at Peterborough food bank.
Gary said: “There are lots of people across Peterborough who are struggling and as soon as the pandemic started I knew that I wanted to do my bit, and help make sure that nobody went hungry.
“I have a van which I use for business, so when I heard that the food bank was looking for a delivery driver, it seemed like good opportunity for me to help out. It’s been a positive way to support the local community, but also a real eye-opener as I’ve met lots of people in the area who are relying on our food parcels.
“The pandemic has been challenging for all of us, but it’s particularly tough for people who are finding it hard to feed themselves and their families. Sometimes I’ll stop on the doorstep for a quick chat with the person I’m delivering to and I hear how much is means that we’re able to offer this service. They are always so polite and grateful for our service – but in my opinion it’s not right that anyone should be struggling to feed their family.
“Even though I’m back at work full-time, I’m continuing to volunteer for the charity one morning a week as I feel it’s important to do something to help others and a worthwhile thing to do. I’m really proud of everyone at the Peterborough foodbank and all the volunteers do a fantastic job.”
The Peterborough foodbank, which is part of the Trussell Trust network, distributed 12,514 emergency food parcels to people facing crisis in the local area between April 2020 and March 2021. This is an increase on the previous year when it handed out 10,000 emergency food parcels.
The Trussell Trust’s head of volunteer management Miranda Beebe said: “We are incredibly grateful to the amazing army of volunteers at Peterborough who have kept the food bank running in very challenging circumstances.
“It’s thanks to people like Gary that food banks across the network have been able to provide the lifeline of emergency food and additional support to thousands of people in crisis over the last year. Now, more than ever, we need the support of our volunteers to help ensure that our food banks can continue to provide this help to people who need it.
“But ultimately, no one should need to use a food bank to get by. Everyone should be able to afford the basics in life. That’s why we’re working nationally to campaign for a hunger free future.”
For more information about the Trussell Trust, go to: trusselltrust.org