Charity sees rise in demand as 1,000th food box is handed out

Food bank volunteers gave out 22 festive hampers and 23 goodie bags over Christmas. Ref shs 3448-50-

Food bank volunteers gave out 22 festive hampers and 23 goodie bags over Christmas. Ref shs 3448-50-14. Picture: Simon Horn. - Credit: Archant

Organisers of the Sid Valley Food Bank have praised the generosity of residents whose donations allowed the service to help more than 860 people last year.

The charity provided a total of 534 food boxes to individuals and families in 2014 – a 20 per cent increase on 2013.

At the group’s annual general meeting, food bank manager Lois Swarbrick updated volunteers and trustees on the organisation’s healthy finances and plans for the coming year.

She said that between April and December last year, the service had provided emergency provisions to 865 people who would have otherwise gone without food.

Lois said: “In early January this year, we issued our 1,000th food box since we opened our doors in November 2013.

“Are we busier because there is more need or because more agencies and clients are aware of the support we can offer?

“Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer.”

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She told the meeting that the food bank’s finances were in a good position, which had allowed the charity to offer a greater range of services.

This included supporting families who would normally receive free school meals during school holidays and providing Christmas food hampers and goodie bags during the festive period.

“I would like to add my personal thanks to the volunteers who helped with this,” Lois added.

“It was huge and would not have been possible without the additional support you gave.”

Although the food bank is generally well stocked, there are some items that the service is short on.

These include savoury rice and pasta, fruit juice, tinned puddings and baby items such as wipes and jars of baby food.

Donations can be made at the food bank, which operates from the Leigh Browne room of the Unitarian Chapel, in All Saints Road, on Mondays from 10.30am to 11.30am and on Fridays from 12.30pm to 3pm.

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