Food bank founder taking shopping trolley on 32km walk to raise cash for service
A food bank founder will be embarking on a 32km (20-mile) walk with a shopping trolley to raise money for those in need of their services – just a year after suffering a heart attack.
Canon Gavin Kibble, who founded Coventry food bank in the West Midlands, will be stopping at all of the city’s 14 food bank centres on May 29 in a bid to raise awareness and funds as demand on their services continues to grow due to the cost-of-living crisis.
Since Mr Kibble, 59, founded the food bank 12 years ago, it has helped more than 250,000 people and is currently feeding 800 each week amid soaring food and drink inflation.
The most recent Office for National Statistics figures show a 19.1% rise in the price of food and non-alcoholic beverages since March last year.
In January 2023, the food bank was feeding 700 people, up from 500 in January 2022.
The route of nearly 20 miles, starting from the city’s most westerly food bank centre in Canley on Monday May 29 and ending at The Halo Centre in Binley, is expected to take Mr Kibble around six hours to complete.
He hopes members of the public will turn out with donations to fill the shopping trolley and basket he is planning to take with him.
While the trek will help raise vital awareness and funds for those struggling with the cost-of-living crisis, it will also mark an important chapter for Mr Kibble as he fights to get his fitness back after suffering a heart attack last year.
“I’d just come home from shopping at Asda, which had not been a particularly pleasant experience because I found myself stopping at the end of each aisle trying to catch my breath,” he said.
“I got home and my wife said ‘are you OK?’
“I said I probably just need to go to bed because I’m exhausted and she wanted to call 111.
“When they heard the symptoms they said I needed to get straight to the hospital.
“Within an hour I was on an ECG and it transpired I was having a heart attack, which took me by surprise.”
Mr Kibble had previously been diagnosed with angina so knew a heart attack was a “possibility”.
He said: “I had an operation to fit two stents in my heart because two of the three main arteries were blocked.
“They told my wife afterwards that she made exactly the right call because there was every chance I wouldn’t have been around the following day.”
Mr Kibble, who has since been following a new diet and fitness regime as part of a Coventry University Research Study Group, added: “I haven’t touched alcohol for a year and changed my diet and do loads of walking and attend gym. I feel about 10 years younger since the heart attack.”
He said the walk will support his training for a planned trans-Pennine charity trek for his 60th birthday next year.
Members of the public are invited to join Mr Kibble for all or part of his route, the details of which can be found at coventryfoodbank.org.uk/foodbankathon.