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Hundreds of Leeds families benefit from food boxes

FOOD AISLE: Volunteer project co-ordinator Lucy Pitkin in the food bank warehouse in Farsley.

FOOD AISLE: Volunteer project co-ordinator Lucy Pitkin in the food bank warehouse in Farsley.

Emergency food boxes for 400 Leeds families in crisis this Christmas are to be distributed throughout December and January.

Leeds Foodbank is giving extra help this winter to organisations which support vulnerable families and the elderly by providing the emergency food boxes. Children’s centres, schools and elderly care organisations across Leeds will be given boxes containing more than three days’ food for families and individuals, who are in crisis.

John Casey, Leeds Foodbank trustee, said: “It is a sad reality that because of the rise in living costs, coupled with wage stagnation, many more people are resorting to foodbanks to see them through a crisis.

“Here in Leeds we are all too aware that the winter period can be particularly harsh for families and older people, which is why we are launching our Emergency Food Box initiative.”

Volunteers from the four Trussell Trust foodbanks in Leeds will be distributing food for hundreds of people from December 10.

“Our scheme is all about local people providing for local people. All the food is donated, packed and given out locally,” said Rosie Cook from Leeds (East) Foodbank.

The emergency food box scheme is a joint initiative by foodbanks in all parts of Leeds. Centres are already open in north and south Leeds; branches in the east and west will follow early in the new year.

A foodbank recently opened in an affluent north Leeds suburb to help residents in financial hardship. Organisers the Trussell Trust said they have identified a need for a facility in Moortown. Karen Burgon, project manager, said despite the area’s image some people were ‘in crisis’. The foodbank is based at Moortown Methodist Church. Vouchers are available at a range of places including health and children centres.

Ms Burgon said there was a myth around the type of person who used a foodbank.

“We’ve seen people from affluent areas come to us whose husbands have left them with the children and cleared out the bank account. We’ve had a man in work whose wife has left and he’s now struggling to maintain the family and work so it’s about people in crisis not necessarily about people who you would immediately think of.”

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