Jenny Codling: Volunteer, Thurrock

Hi, I’m Jenny,

My family has always volunteered within their community, so for me, volunteering came naturally. When I moved to Tilbury with my husband, Father Tim, the local vicar at St. John’s Church, it was clear that there was a need to help the local community.

I started working with The Trussell Trust – Stop UK Hunger, which is a Christian organisation that organises food banks in 2012 and I love it. Many of the volunteers are from the church and their ages range from 60 to 88-years old. We have more than just food supplied to support the community, we try to help with many different requests, from finding necessary furniture to helping to write a CV.  I am proud to be able to signpost people to other agencies and groups in Tilbury for help and have a direct line to the Red Cross for other needs, such as school uniforms, prams and beds for children.

The pandemic was an issue for the food bank because we couldn’t hold it in the church hall as we usually did. We had to close for 10-weeks until the vaccine was introduced, which is when we were able to reopen. We introduced a ‘click and collect’ for clothing, which seemed to be a big requirement at the time. This worked really well as we took orders via telephone, we then sorted what was needed ready to be collected. The gift from this was the need to re-think the entire process of the food bank and still be able to help the locals.

The Queen has always inspired me with her dedication and her Christian faith. She kept her promises to the nation from her Coronation 70-years ago and has never let the country down. The food bank won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services in 2020, which would ordinarily have meant we would have had a garden party with the Queen. We were all disappointed we couldn’t meet her, but I am overjoyed to be able to celebrate her Jubilee with others from our community!

“Jenny has always been a source of help to me and the Tilbury Riverside Project. When I heard she was running a food bank it didn’t surprise me – she is always helpful, kind and has time for everyone. She is a true credit to the community. ” – extract from the key worker nomination for Jenny

Jenny and the St John the Baptist Church foodbank team receiving the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services in 2020

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