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Foodbanks have recipe to help hungry Leeds families

Volunteers at North Leeds Foodbank pictured with project manager Karen Burgon (centre).

Volunteers at North Leeds Foodbank pictured with project manager Karen Burgon (centre).

Tucked away in two leafy north Leeds suburbs are an army of volunteers trying to help families put food on their tables.

In the space of just one hour the team at the North Leeds Foodbank, in Moortown, had given away almost 60 kilos of food in emergency parcels to make sure people do not go to bed hungry.

But this was only half-way through their first session on the first day of the school holidays.

Some of the busier sessions can see up to 20 people flood through their doors for emergency provisions.

But they are preparing for even more families to visit them as they struggle over the summer break.

Karen Burgon, coordinator of North Leeds Foodbank, said: “It is really difficult to know what demand will be like because this will be the first summer holiday that we have been open.

“We are expecting a higher demand from families and our voucher holders say they will be from people whose children are getting free school meals.

“For some children that free school meal will be their main meal of the day.

“Parents will have to provide two lots of meals every day as well as a breakfast while they are on holiday.

“For them that will also see additional pressure on their gas and electric bills.

“We even get families who need instant mash as they can make them with the kettle to help cut down on their gas bills.”

The team have distributed 14 TONNES of food across the north of the city since September which has fed 1,678 people.

And the increase in demand has seen a new foodbank open its doors in Horsforth this week.

A team of church leaders and volunteers have opened the emergency food provision at Lister Hill Baptist Church to help people who are in crisis.

And they are also looking to secure a warehouse in north Leeds to store their food as the demand increases.

Dedicated volunteer Pat Stone has given her time to help care for families on the breadline since the foodbank opened at Moortown Methodist Church in September.

She said: “We see people visit for all sorts of reasons and they visit us from all over.

“We had a young woman visit us because her husband had lost his job and they just couldn’t manage.

“People are proud and they don’t want to come here.

“But when they do come they just can’t believe it and are so grateful.”

The Yorkshire Evening Post has this week launched its Feed A Family campaign to help the city’s network of foodbank support vulnerable families during the summer holidays.

The four Trussell Trust banks in the city have distributed the equivalent of 20 DOUBLE DECKER buses filled with food since September.

Simon Old, chair of the management team at North Leeds foodbank, said the impact of the summer holidays on some families can be extremely stressful.

He said: “People forget the effect of the school holidays on parents whose children have free school meals.

“It can be quite stressful.

“This is about people who are in a genuine crisis so by donating a small amount of food this could make a huge difference.”

And he said that a lot of people who visit the foodbanks are those in employment who are struggling to make ends meet.

Simon added: “I think people would be surprised .

“What people don’t understand is that an awful lot of people come through our door who are in employment.

“They can be on zero hours contracts and on the minimum wage and they are struggling in a crisis.

“This could be your next door neighbour.

And the team signpost visitors to a variety of support networks for help.

Volunteers are also on hand to support people with a listening ear to help them through their time of crisis.

Karen added: “There is massive stereotyping when it comes to foodbanks.

“People don’t understand that there are some people who are working who are also struggling because the cost of living is going up.

“Feeding your family is becoming more and more expensive.”

“There are people out there who are struggling and it could even be your next door neighbour.

“By donating just one tin it just makes a huge difference to a family who have nothing to eat.”

FOOD COLLECTIONS TO SUPPORT YOUR FOOD BANKS

East Leeds: Food donations can be made at Oxford Place Methodist Centre, Oxford Place, Leeds, on Mon and Thur 2pm-4pm.

North Leeds: Food donations can be made at Moor Allerton Methodist Church, Alderton Rise, on Mon, Wed and Fri from 11am to 1pm or Lister Hill Baptist Church, Horsforth, on Wed and Fri at 2pm to 4pm and 10am to noon on a Saturday.

South Leeds: Food donations can be made at Middleton Methodist Church on Wed from 9.30am to 4pm.

West Leeds: Food donations can be made to 13 Redlane Mill, Farsley on Tue from 10am to 4pm or Farsley Community Church on Fri from 5pm to 7pm.

FOODBANK SHOPPING

Milk (UHT or powdered)

Sugar (500g)

Fruit juice (carton)

Tinned meat/fish

Tinned veg/fruit

Soup

Pasta sauces

Sponge Pudding (tinned)

Cereals

Rice Pudding (tinned)

Tea bags/instant coffee

Instant Mashed potato

Rice/pasta

Jam

Biscuits/snack bars

Toilet roll

 

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