Plea for donations from Sid Valley Foodbank

The bare shelves at Sid Valley Food Bank. Picture: Contributed

The bare shelves at Sid Valley Food Bank. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

The sheer number of adults and children needing help has left the foodbank’s shelves nearly empty.

The Sid Valley Foodbank said the help it received over the Christmas period was overwhelming but that donations plummeted in the new year.

The number of people needing help, however, continues to rise. In January, the foodbank supplied an average of 25 food parcels per week – helping more than 100 individuals, 77 of which were children. Organisers have now issued a plea for help to Sid Valley residents to restock vital supplies.

Foodbank coordinator Andie Milne said: “Donations have fallen off considerably in the new year. This is something we expect to happen, as people deal with post-Christmas bills. However, our client base is continuing to increase.”

Milne said demand for the foodbank jumped over 2018 and there was no reason to think it would drop in 2019. The foodbank is now having to review and change its services to ensure it remains sustainable.

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Milne said: “January has been very busy for us, and there has been an increase in the demand for deliveries and fuel support, hence the need to review what is sustainable for 2019.”

She added that, out of the 100 food parcels provided, more than 50 per cent needed delivery and fuel support as well.

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“In real terms,” Milne said, “the percentage of client ratio needing extra support is relevant to 2017, but client voucher numbers were under 40 per calendar month, which was sustainable in relation to donations received.”

Milne said she received two complaints from members of the general public challenging individual referrals to the food bank. Although Milne said she could not comment on individual cases, she said the complaints, on further investigation, were shown to be based on misconceptions.

An East Devon District Council spokesman said: “We value and support the foodbanks operating in East Devon. They do an excellent job in difficult circumstances. We are planning on contacting the East Devon foodbanks to get an up-to-date picture of the demand for their services as part of an investigation we are doing looking at poverty in East Devon and the impact of welfare reform and related Government policies.”

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