Hi, my name is Sarah Stevens and I am a member of Coulby Newham Baptist Church. I am originally from Hertfordshire but married my husband, John, and moved up to Middlesbrough in early 1993. Since my children came along (Vikki who is now 25 and Benjamin who is 16) I have not had a paid job but I have worked as a community worker for the church; running the Toddler group, Senior’s group and leading worship on a Sunday morning, among other things.
Our community work is based in The Beacon which, until a few years ago, was very run down. For many years I had wanted to open a Foodbank distribution centre but we just didn’t have the facilities to store the food, but then about 4 years ago we got a grant to re-furbish The Beacon and we designed in a food storage cupboard and café area so that we could finally open our distribution centre.
While this work was going on, the team at Grove Hill kindly let me work at their distribution centre so that I could learn how everything worked and get some experience in the different aspects of a centre (welcoming, the paperwork, packing the food). In October 2017 our distribution centre opened and we spent a few weeks just doing training role plays with our team as we didn’t get any clients!
We are still quite a quiet centre, averaging 2 clients per session, but the team love hanging out together and a few of us go out and help other busier centres when they need help, which is great to do.
My husband is now retired and has also started volunteering for Foodbank, in the warehouse. I just love how Foodbank bridges denominations and allows The Church to work as one to bless our town.
There are so many wonderful people who volunteer and so many needy people that we can bring a little taste of God’s Kingdom to as we feed them – it is an awesome organisation!