I am happy to hear that an old tradition has been renewed! As schoolchildren in the 80’s, we celebrated Harvest Festival. Once fallen away in the face of ‘progress’, it appears the helping-out of our fellow man in this season of plenty has come back into fashion. It is wonderful to see that our young people today are once more encouraged bring aid to those less fortunate than themselves. The food collected is being donated to food banks.
We at Cook-Inn have not been donated any of this bounty, but this does not matter – Morrison’s at Piersfield have made sure week by week that our cup runneth over. What matters is that young people in schools are getting involved in helping those in most need in our communities.
It saddens me that we have lost so much of the community spirit I remember from my own childhood. I know that we live in different times now. It confuses me why people want to be so insular. It was comforting to know all your neighbours, have them looking out for you, and you looking out for them. I try to recreate this in my life by always chatting to my neighbours when possible.
Our year at Cook-Inn begins on October the first. This was the date of our very first food donation. We start our second year with many ‘firsts’.
1) Our new uniforms! We now have new ‘hi-viz’ vests with our logo and details on the back. This means that we are readily identifiable to customers as we collect our donations – and also to our more vulnerable service users.
2) Our new banner, designed by me (Duncan Johnstone). This huge, tough, waterproof sign rolls up conveniently and can be stored in the back of the car – but once rolled out it identifies us to the general public and helps enthuse them about what we do.
3) Our new volunteer, Amy! Welcome to the team. It was lovely to have another smiling face, and another car and a ready pair of hands to help us with our endeavours. We look forward to getting to know you better as the weeks go by.
This week’s blog title is borrowed from an old, Scottish bridal tradition. Other things that we borrow are ideas and inspiration from other people and other groups. Anything that we can use to further the goals of Cook-Inn, and assist more individuals, will be used ‘to the max’ for the benefit of as many people as possible. Also to extend the reach of the charity.
1) If you examine our banner, you will see that the lettering is blue. This is so it shows up against the image of all the wonderful fruit and vegetables which Morrison’s have donated to us within the past year. This image does not represent the full variety we have received, but it gives the public an idea of what we’ve been given.
Cook-Inn is not like a regular food bank. The bulk of our produce is fresh fruit and veg instead of tinned and packaged goods. We also do not limit the number of donations we can give, like some other food banks have to. We will keep helping our recipients until they no longer require the food.
2) The only ‘blue’ that we like (apart from the Saltire) is on our banner. We are proud of the fact that our work lifts the hearts and spirits of many of our recipients. Just knowing that there are people out there who care, and are willing to donate their time and energy to strangers renews faith and hope. Our volunteers often stop to chat awhile with recipients, learning more about their lives, cultivating friendships and inculcating new ideas in the process. This helps our more isolated service users to reconnect with their community.
I have some special thanks to impart – to my fellow founders, Janine and Clive. Without whom our charity would not exist. To our regular volunteers – Adele, George, Fred, Feston, Joram, Susan, Gordon and Linda. Thirdly, to Gillian – our Community Champion; for her unerring support and belief in our project. To the staff at the store, for their weekly help and kind words. To the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and its charity arm – ADRA – for all its help and assistance.
To our wonderful recipients, and to anyone else who has volunteered in our kitchen or on deliveries, who is not specifically mentioned here today.
To you all, I say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ and I wish you all long life, love and laughter. Always.