Hartlepool Foodbank has helped an average of more than 100 children a month after hard-up families made desperate pleas for help.
The life-saving Church Street charity helped 4,507 people throughout 2014, of which 1,253 were children aged under 17.
That is equal to 12 people needing to use the Foodbank every day throughout the year, or 375 a month, including 104 children a month.
Starving town families used a total of 2,452 Foodbank vouchers distributed by the charity last year, which was an increase of 349 on 2013.
Today, MP for Hartlepool Iain Wright described the figures as “heartbreaking”.
“The notion that kids in a rich economy, where you have billionaires avoiding paying tax, yet there are people in our town who can’t afford to feed their children.
“No-one can view that as acceptable – it should make people both upset and very angry.
“I see it when people come to seek help from me, they are absolutely desperate and they haven’t got enough money to heat their homes or put food on the able.
“A lot of the time these people are in work as well, but their incomes are so low given the rising cost of living. It’s just not enough to allow people to live.
“There are also benefit sanctions for the most spurious of reasons which seems to confirm that Central Government is dictating to job centres that they must impose them.”
“I’m genuinely shocked that this is happening in this day and age. People having to go into charities for hand-outs for something as basic as food is an absolute disgrace.
“We are just very fortunate that the people of Hartlepool are so generous and continue to to donate food to the Foodbank.”
In the annual report, chair of trustees Clive Hall said:
“Hartlepool Foodbank is a robust and effective project which has grown and developed extremely well since opening two years ago.
“Hartlepool Foodbank should feel extremely proud of all that has been achieved since opening and for the very professional service that has been developed.”
The figures were revealed in Hartlepool Foodbank’s Annual report for 2014.
It also showed that the main reasons people became so hungry that they were forced to use the service to feed themselves and their familes, was down to benefit delays and changes, and low income.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 10 Mar 2015