The Mustard Tree are one of our key charity partners and last week we paid them a visit to lend a hand in their food club.
While most of our support for the charity comes in the form of donations from every drink we sell - we also wanted to offer some support on the ground at a time where donations for the charity struggle to keep up with it’s requirements and it’s usage is at an all time high.
Based in Ancoats on the corner of Bengal Street and Oldham Road, we arrived bright and early for our morning briefing before the hub opens it’s doors to the public at 10am.
The pandemic and the current cost of living crisis has seen it’s usage soar on pre-pandemic levels and it’s food club has seen most of this surge - with daily users up five times on early 2020.
The Mustard Tree offer an array of services for their clients and the food club is for people who are having to make impossible choices between paying a bill or putting a meal on the table, are homeless, or simply struggling to make ends meet.
For just £2.50 people can purchase up to 10 items, including vegetables, tins, fridge items, ready-meals, meat and fish - and aims to maintain as much normality and independence of supermarket shopping as possible. Choice is crucial here - people can choose what they want, they aren’t just given what is available.
It’s a Wednesday and we’re told by a few people that it’s an especially busy day with over 90 people joining their English language class. This is one of other many services they offer and it’s usage has also stepped up considerably since September last year when many refugees from Afghanistan arrived in the area. Many of them join to learn English and vital new skills to improve their quality of life, while also using the food club.
What makes The Mustard Tree so unique is that it offers so much more than just a lifeline to people in need - it offers a path to bring people out of poverty and a support system to prevent people from falling into poverty and homelessness. Whether it be the independence of the food club, ICT classes, one-to-one support, or simply helping people in overcoming social isolation - they have an incredible scope of services which are beneficial for many people.
It was an incredible and eye opening experience to see the real life impact we are able to have on people’s lives when they need it so much.
Drinking good never tasted so good.