Rise in demand for food bank donations leads to business community appeal

Businesses are being urged to give their support to a local foodbank which has seen a sharp rise in the number of people requiring support.

The East Durham FEED project is now regularly distributing over 100 food parcels every week to local residents in financial distress.

Many of the recipients have been adversely affected by welfare reform and the roll of Universal Credit.

Since the beginning of 2019, 2130 food parcels have been distributed with 2095 people receiving support, an increase of around 64 per cent since the same period last year.

People are being referred for support for various reasons including victims of domestic abuse, those with illness or disability including those suffering with cancer, individuals losing work or being made redundant, unforeseen changes to family circumstances including bereavement.

The trust is also seeing an increase in in work poverty and low income.

Lindsey Wood, Deputy Manager at East Durham Trust, said: “We are helping more and more people in the area who need our food parcels to ensure they are able to feed their families.

“Such is the rise in demand for our service that we are desperately in need of food donations from the business community.

“Every donation is gratefully received and will make a real difference to people in the area.”

Two case studies that East Durham Trust is sharing are of Shannon and Mildred.

Shannon, a single mother of seven children, was receiving Income Support. On informing the DWP that her bank details had changed, she was automatically switched to Universal Credit. This left her with no money at all for five weeks during which time she had to provide three meals a day for her children throughout the holiday period. We provided her with desperately needed food parcels as well as hot meals from our People’s Takeaway for herself and her large family. We also gave her benefit advice and referred her to the MP’s Office.

Mildred is an elderly lady living alone in poverty. She has a variety of mental health issues; as well as suffering from anxiety and depression, she is bipolar and prone to forgetfulness. Mildred recently experienced a serious house fire in which her household possessions were destroyed. She is currently awaiting a PIP appeal. We successfully applied for welfare assistance on her behalf to replace the goods she lost and provided her with a vitally-needed food parcel.

Local residents access the foodbank via referral through professional agencies only, ensuring all of their needs are being met. When the Trust is approached by individuals they are supported by trained staff and volunteers with advice around benefits, housing and debt.

The volunteer led project relies on donations from the public, who have always been extremely supportive to date. Unfortunately stock is turning around quicker than ever and it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep the shelves full.

Donatons of the following items would be very gratefully received: Non-perishable food items such as tinned meats and fish, tinned vegetables, tomatoes and fruit, tinned beans, cereals, jars of sauces, pasta, rice, coffee, sugar, dried noodles and snacks etc. Nappies, female hygiene products and toiletries are also required.

For more information about the work of East Durham Trust please visit www.eastdurhamtrust.org.uk

You can also call 0191 5693511 or email admin@eastdurhamtrust.org.uk

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