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
Hartlepool Foodbank is set to expand its services to help people deal with debt after winning a funding boost.
The Churches Together project, which has given out a whopping 60 tonnes of food to over 8,000 individuals since launching two years ago, secured the cash prize from Lloyds Bank’s Community Fund.
The foodbank, based in Church Street, came second in a regional online public vote to secure the funding.
The £2,000 will be used to launch a new Community Money Advice (CMA) debt advice service this year.
Al Wales, co-ordinator of Hartlepool Foodbank, said:
“We are so grateful to everyone who voted for us.
“Finishing second was a big achievement and shows the level of support there is for the work of the foodbank in the town.”
Foodbank bosses decided to focus on debt-related issues as it is one of the biggest issues faced by clients who are referred to them for emergency food parcels.
The new service will be headed up by foodbank trustee Lisa Lavender.
“We are delighted with this award because it means we will be able to offer completely free, face to face, quality money advice services which will contribute to the good already being done around the issue of debt in the town by agencies such as West View Resource Centre, Citizens Advice Bureau and Credit Union.”
According to the Trussell Trust charity, which runs the Hartlepool and other foodbanks, more than one in 10 UK families have taken out a pay day loan to make ends meet in the last year.
And almost a quarter have fallen into debt to be able to provide for the family.
Managers say they are currently well stocked with beans and pasta but are very low on tinned fruit, sugar and fruit juice and custard and tin tomatoes or pasta sauce.
You can leave them in permanent collection points at Tesco Extra, in Burn Road, or Morrisons, in Clarence Road.
Supporters can also take them to the foodbank on Tuesday or Friday mornings.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 19 Jan 2015
Hartlepool Foodbank is giving a vital food handout to desperate families an average of every three minutes it is open.
The number of starving people being forced to turn to the foodbank to be able to eat has increased by almost a quarter within a year.
Between January and June this year, 2,310 people walked into Hartlepool Foodbank, in Church Street, and received a three-day food parcel.
The foodbank is open two days a week for a total of four hours and the figure equates to a handout every three minutes.
That is equal to 385 people using the service every month in the period, or 89 people every week.
In the same six-month period last year there were 24 per cent less people needing its help with around 1,750 residents needing a package of food.
The shocking figures prompted Hartlepool Foodbank to launch a Neighbourhood Food Collection at Tesco, in Belle Vue Way, Hartlepool, as part of a national initiative with other stores up and down the country.
And generous customers donated an incredible 7,914 meals for people in need this winter.
The collection was held to make sure that the charities have enough food to help people during the winter, which is the hardest time of year for people in poverty.
Foodbank staff say that Christmas is looking especially tough for people on low incomes, with many already really struggling to make ends meet, and many parents being forced to choose between eating and heating.
Al Wales foodbank manager, said:
“Winter is the hardest time of year for people living in poverty, and this Christmas is looking especially tough as many people on low incomes are already really struggling.
“Numbers of people turning to Hartlepool Foodbank in the first six months of this year January to June increased by 24 per cent compared to the same period last year, and 2,310 people in Hartlepool have been given three days’ emergency food in the first 6 months of this year.”
A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said:
“The Government’s welfare reform changes are having a major impact on many local families and we are fully aware of the hardship this is causing.
“The foodbank is playing a vital role in supporting large numbers of people across Hartlepool and since it was opened in 2012 the council has made a number of financial donations to support its work.
“As well as donating food at the Hartlepool Foodbank site on Church Street, residents can also bring items to the Civic Centre reception, during normal office hours, and we will make sure the items are taken to the foodbank on their behalf.”
Foodbank’s Al added:
“Once again the generosity of local people is overwhelming – from children giving their pocket money, to bags and even whole trolley loads for food, being donated.
“Every item counts and helps to make a difference.
“The timing of the collection couldn’t have been better, not only are we stocked for the cold weeks ahead but we are also busy preparing emergency food boxes for our partner agencies to hold over the Christmas period when Foodbank is closed, from December 24 to January 6.
“During the collection, customers were asked to donate non-perishable food items such as long-life milk, cereals, tinned vegetables, tinned meat and Christmas treats.
“Thirty-two volunteers from the Trussell Trust Hartlepool Foodbank joined with Tesco staff in store to collect donations from kind-hearted customers.
“Tesco then topped up all donations by 30 per cent.”
The Tesco collection was part of the fifth UK-wide scheme, in partnership with foodbank charity The Trussell Trust and food redistribution charity FareShare, with an aim of reaching a target of 20 million meals for people in need by the end of this year.
• The foodbank, at 28 Church Street, is open Tuesdays and Fridays from 11.30am until 1.30pm.
For more information contact the foodbank on firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephone (01429) 598404.
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 08 Dec 2014
Foodbank bosses fear there will be a huge rise in hand-outs during the school holidays as desperate families struggle to feed their children who would have received free school meals.
Families picked up almost a TONNE of goods from Hartlepool Foodbank in the first week of the school holidays.
The foodbank, in Church Street, usually hands out around half that amount each week to families on the breadline struggling to make ends meet.
But on the day many town schools broke up for their six-week break, volunteers at the Foodbank dished out more than 30 parcels to feed families.
Hartlepool Foodbank manager Al Wales said: “We were very busy this time last year, but as it was our first summer in operation it is difficult to say that is purely down to the school holidays as there are no previous figures to compare it to.
“But there is no doubt that the school holidays are a key factor in the increase in parcels we give out.
“Children who normally have their lunch at school are now at home, and they need to be fed.
“So the families are having to get more food than they normally would.
“We were extremely busy last Friday, and the collection on the Tuesday was also quite large.
“On a busy week, we can hand out about half a tonne of food across the week. “Last Friday, we did that in one day.”
The Foodbank opens twice a week, for two hour periods on Tuesdays and Fridays.
People deemed to be in need of handouts are referred to the Foodbank by health professionals, social workers or other agency staff.
Al added: “We carried out a collection in Morrisons recently because we knew we would be busy during the summer.
“The schools help us with regular donations, but when they are on holiday they obviously drop off.
“We’re well stocked, and we’re coping, but obviously more donations are always welcomed.”
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 26 July 2014
Thoughtful school students got an insight into food poverty by fasting and raised half a tonne of vital supplies for Hartlepool Foodbank.
A group of teenagers from English Martyrs School in Hartlepool raised just over £200 from family and friends by going without food for a day.
And they quickly spent the cash on stacks of food which they delivered to Hartlepool Foodbank in Church Street.
Project co-ordinator Al Wales said: “We were delighted and blown away by the donation.
“It is great to see students engaging with food poverty issues and doing something about it.”
The Year 10 students are all part of newly-formed St Vincent de Paul youth group in English Martyrs.
Laura Howe, co-ordinator of the group, said: “St Vincent de Paul Society is a charitable organisation which rather than donating money goes out and does things to directly help communities and works with the underprivileged.”
It has been a busy time for the foodbank after Hartlepool’s Tesco Extra store collected 2.6 tonnes of food in three days.
And last Friday, volunteers held a successful collection at Morrisons, in Clarence Road.
Al added: “We would like to say a huge thank you to the customers, the response from them was really positive.
“We haven’t had chance to weigh it up yet but it looks to have been very successful.
“Last August was our busiest month of the year so we wanted to ensure our warehouse was fully stocked and ready in of an increase in demand.”
Source – Hartlepool Mail, 16 July 2014