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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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West Cumbrian foodbank demand jumps 570 per cent

It’s a time for giving – and the North Lakes Foodbank has been at the forefront this Christmas to help out more than 250 people in crisis in the Allerdale area.

foodbank 2112
HUNGER DRIVE: Marcia Morgan and Josh Smith load the van at the North Lakes Foodbank

That’s a huge rise on the 44 people who were helped out by the charity group this time last year.

Jessie Hendry, project co-ordinator, said that some people being helped out had not eaten for a few days.

The organisation’s warehouse at Lorton Street Methodist Church, Cockermouth, has been full to bursting point with donated food stocks.

Jessie Hendry said she was blown away with the support of local people.

Over five weeks to December 7 the foodbank has helped 269 people in Allerdale; that’s 146 adults and 123 children.

The food helps individuals and families who are identified by care professionals.

Each emergency food supply should last a person three days.

Jessie said: “People are being so generous even in these economic hard times.

“More people are in need of us around December and in the run up to Christmas, but we have got so many local people helping us out.

“We have around 40 active volunteers with four needed in each session to help transport the food from the warehouse on to a van.

“It usually takes them about 10 minutes to load the van full of all the boxes.”

The foodbank has collection points at Lorton Street Methodist Church in Cockermouth, Bridge Central in Workington and New Life Church in Whitehaven.

It collects an average of 1,500kg of food a month and distributes 2,000 kg to people across West Cumbria.

Donated items include milk and fruit juice, tinned food such as tomatoes, meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, soup, rice and sponge pudding, dried food including biscuits and cereals, tea bags and instant coffee, pasta sauces, instant mash potato, sugar, jam and pasta.

Health considerations mean it cannot use perishable or fresh food, damaged tins or packages and food past its sell by date.

The foodbank does run low on certain items and at the moment is appealing for more sponge puddings and pasta sauces.

Since a new distribution centre at Workington was opened in October, Jessie said demand in the area had soared, with 172 people being helped out in the last five weeks.

Many of those helped out are people who have experienced benefit payment delays. This accounted for 213 of those supported recently, while another 27 were helped out because of benefits changes.

Most receivers are single and aged between 25 and 64.

Jessie said: “We are preparing for possible changes in the benefits system and we hope to expand to have distribution centres in Maryport and Wigton next year.”

Anyone wanting to donate can check the North Lakes Foodbank website: thefoodbank.org.uk

Comment - page 10

Have your say

Are there any pick up places south of Whitehaven? I would like to contribute but don't travel much these days.

Posted by Pam Clatworthy on 21 December 2012 at 16:44

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