Taxi Tin Appeal boosts food stocks

The Central Manchester Foodbank run by students of Manchester Universities’ Catholic Chaplaincy has been boosted by collaborating with a local taxi company. Shoppers and other passengers using one of Cresta Cars’ fleet of 350 vehicles in Greater Manchester are being encouraged to leave an item of food in the cab at the end of their journeys, as part of the Taxi Tin Appeal. 

“Many of our taxi drivers live and work in the local community and see local families struggling,” says Cresta Cars’ Derek Brocklehurst. “It’s important we help these families where we can – even if it’s just in a small way.” The Manchester taxi firm already supports local initiatives by collecting toys for children at Christmas, sponsoring sports teams and supporting a dogs’ home that was damaged in a fire.

Crises

Father Tim Byron SJ, the Jesuit Chaplain at the Catholic Chaplaincy, has welcomed the taxi drivers’ involvement. He says changes in people’s circumstances – such as an unexpected bill, redundancy or a family crisis can often present people with stark choices. “We’ve seen a steady increase in the number of people using the Foodbank,” he says, "especially families. We’ve been operating now for 18 months and in the first year alone we supplied food to 2,500 people, including 900 children. They often don’t have the resilience to cope and turn to the Foodbank as a last resort. It’s not an easy choice and many feel humiliated when they cross the threshold. But it is a need that the students are responding to; and to have the cooperation of local taxi drivers as well can make a tremendous difference.”

Donations to the Central Manchester Foodbank tend to be quite seasonal – especially at Christmas. But it needs to maintain a stock of at least five tonnes of food to cope with the weekly demand. Derek Brocklehurst says he hopes the food donated by shoppers picked up from stores by Cresta Cars drivers and other passengers who go through their kitchen cupboards at home will be delivered to the Trussell Trust (which runs more than 400 Foodbanks across the UK) in their fleet of 25 mini-buses.