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Stop our city’s children from starving - support our Leeds Feed a Family campaign

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Parents will skip meals this summer to make sure their children don’t go hungry. the Yorkshire Evening Post is calling on readers to help feed a family. Laura Bowyer reports.

Mum-of-four Louise spent three days without a single bite to eat just so her children would not go hungry.

Her partner was suddenly off work for six days because he was unwell leaving their family without any income for one week.

Louise, who was forced to give up her job because of childcare issues, spent nearly three days without any food to make sure her children didn’t go to bed hungry.

In a heartbreaking interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post Louise said she would have gone one week without a meal had it not been for the support of a foodbank.

She said: “I literally didn’t eat for days and without the help of the foodbank it would have been seven or eight days because the children need their food.

“My partner was only off work for six days and it was just so difficult to cope without a wage.

“The children were getting upset because they had minimal food and I was just so drained because I had no food.

“Without that foodbank I don’t know what I would have done.

“It was a lifeline for us and thankfully Pudsey Children’s Centre helped to signpost us to this.

“I never even knew there was a foodbank near where I lived so I think there will be people who don’t even know where they can donate food.

“Something like this could just happen to anybody – all it takes is just a slight change in your circumstances.”

The stark reality is Louise is just one of thousands of residents across Leeds who have been forced to turn to their local foodbank for emergency food parcels.

The Yorkshire Evening Post can today reveal that nearly 20 double-decker buses worth of food have been distributed to help feed the city since September.

However, not a single one of the city’s four Trussell Trust foodbanks has before been open during the summer holidays.

They have already reported a huge increase in the number of people who turned to them for support during the Easter holidays which lasted for just two weeks.

And there are fears more families will be forced to turn to them as they struggle to put food on their tables during the six week break from school.

Leeds West Foodbank 
is looking to find an extra nine tonnes of food over the next three months just to cope with the increase in demand.

Today the YEP is launching its Feed A Family campaign to help our city’s families feed their children this summer.

We are calling on readers to pledge their support and buy items off our special shopping list over the next six weeks.

Special collection points will be available to drop food off around the city to support foodbanks in north, east, south and west Leeds.

And we are calling on businesses, charities and organisations across Leeds to hold their own food collections or donate money to individual foodbanks to help them continue supporting some of our city’s most vulnerable residents.

Nicola Furbisher, managing editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post, said: “It is just heartbreaking to think that families across Leeds are struggling to feed their children.

“Youngsters should not be going to bed hungry.

“That is why we are calling on our loyal readers to help some of the most vulnerable families who are living in their communities.

“There could be people living on your street who could be just one single pay cheque away from living a financial nightmare.

“And the summer holidays are set to see further added pressure to parents in your neighbourhoods and communities.

“We are urging as many people as possible to help others – whether it is just a single extra tin in your weekly shop – it could make the world of difference to a family.”

The Trussell Trust foodbanks handed out emergency food to 133,539 people, including 47,639 children, across the country between July and August last year.

And the charity are expecting that figure to soar this summer for parents who could find their family finances stretched over the next two months.

Chris Mould, Trussell Trust chairman, said: “As school summer holidays approach, many of the UK’s poorest parents are deeply concerned about being able to feed their children over the long break.

“Whilst the economy is showing signs of recovery, times are still very tough for families on the breadline and school holidays are particularly difficult as family finances can be stretched to breaking point in order to provide basic food for their children.

“During school holidays, foodbank volunteers meet parents who have been skipping meals to feed their children, and mums who cry tears of relief when they receive a food parcel that means the whole family can eat that night.

“Many foodbanks across the UK will be running additional services to help families who will struggle during the holidays.

“We are immensely grateful to the YEP for running its Feed a Family campaign. We would like to urge people to donate to help stop Leeds families from going hungry this summer and beyond.”

The YEP will go behind the scenes at foodbanks across Leeds to find out how dedicated volunteers are serving their local communities.

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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