“We are here for the whole community – if anybody needs help, we will be there within 24 hours,” says Joel Likezo, Pastor of the Word of Life International Christian Centre.
After launching in the summer of 2013, the church, on Darlington’s Corporation Road, has become a lifeline for its community, providing help with family issues, fighting extremism and acting as a listening ear for anyone who needs it.
The church has also been working closely with King’s Church to tackle food poverty in the area, and its volunteer run food bank regularly attracts dozens of families needing emergency food and support.
“We serve anyone who needs help, regardless of their faith,” says Pastor Likezo.
“There are many families in need and the food bank is here to help them.
“We launched around four months ago and the only down time we had was over Christmas.”
Being nestled in one of Darlington’s most ethnically diverse areas, the food bank not only reaches out to a range of different communities, including Asians and Africans, but a range of religions too.
It stocks a range of food donated by local supermarkets and private donors, as well as halal meat donated by local shops.
“A lot of people who come here are Muslims, so we take into consideration about halal food.
“This is the only food bank with multiple nationalities. As a result, I have a good working relationship with people of different faiths.”
Sisters Carol and Judy Barker have been regulars at the food bank for around four weeks.
“Everyone here is really friendly and it is nice to come down to meet people,” says Carol, 54.
“If people need help they should not be scared to come down – people will help you.”
Volunteers at the food bank have also been working with Tracy Freeman, chief executive of homeless charity, First Stop Darlington, to explore ways of expanding the service.
“They are more than just a food bank, they are throwing their doors open to the community,” she says.
The food bank is open every Saturday from 11.30am to 12.30pm.
Donations can be dropped off at the church, or collected by calling 07788-844-226.
Source – Northern Echo, 19 Jan 2015
Darlington community workers are urging people to increase food bank donations, as the summer holiday sparks a surge in demand.
The Salvation Army provides free food parcels every Friday evening and the King’s Church has operated the Food Store and three other distribution centres in the town since February 2012.
Both look to provide emergency food resources for those unable to feed themselves or their families with all work carried out by hard working volunteers.
> Hope they are all volunteers – Salvation Army has a poor record regarding Workfare.
Summer is a crucial time for the projects, as the beginning of six weeks of school holidays leaves many families unable to cope.
King’s Church network manager Lisa Marsh said: “It is important that people can put food on the table.
“The last two summers has seen an increase in the demand for more food donations, often from families and single parents.
“The lack of access to free school meals and added pressure of buying school uniforms is very important.”
Parents often cut down their own food intake in order to feed their children.
Colin Bradshaw, of Darlington Salvation Army, which also runs a food bank, said: “Dozens of people attend every Friday evening.
“The start of the summer holidays will see an increase in numbers as many people who wouldn’t normally attend need the support of food banks as the main meal of the day is not provided by schools for children”.
Items such as tinned meats, pasta, long life milk and cereal are the major priorities for donations.
Mr Bradshaw praised the generosity of those who provide food donations.
He said: “Thanks to everyone who supports our food bank, such support makes a huge difference in the community.”
Donations can be made at The Salvation Army, Darlington Citadel and the King’s Church, Darlington.
For more information, visit darlingtonsalvationarmy.org.uk or kingschurchdarlington.org/foodstore
Source – Northern Echo, 23 July 2014