NEEDY people relying on food banks received a cash boost ahead of a top-level event about poverty and hunger in South Tyneside tomorrow.
Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn took part in a bag pack, which raised hundreds of pounds for food banks which help cash-strapped people in the borough to get by.
Members of the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Hunger and Food Poverty will visit South Tyneside tomorrow to gather evidence about levels of need.
The inquiry team, jointly chaired by Frank Field MP and the Bishop of Truro, the Right Reverend Tim Thornton, will also talk to local people to assess poverty.
More than 1,680 people in South Tyneside visited food banks last year and there has been a 100 per cent increase in people accessing the services over the last year alone. At the B&M Bargains store at the Viking Centre, Jarrow, Mr Hepburn helped volunteers from Churches Together in South Tyneside, South Tyneside Key Project, the New Hope Church, South Shields, and Grange Road Baptist Church, Jarrow, boost cash for local food banks.
Mr Hepburn said: “I take my hat off to the tremendous amount of work volunteers from our local churches and organisations do to help those vulnerable people who need it most.
“I have already raised my concerns with ministers in Parliament on this issue and it is something I will continue to do.”
Food donations can also be made to Grange Road Baptist Church in Jarrow, or the South Tyneside Key Project at St Mary’s Centre, Tyne Dock, South Shields.
The Reverend Roy Merrin, for Grange Road Baptist Church, said: “The bag-packing exercise was a great success and raised about £500.
“We would like to thank Stephen Hepburn, the store management, shoppers and everyone else who supported the event, including Patricia Smith, of the New Hope Church, South Shields.”
The All Party Parliamentary group will tomorrow visit the Key Project at Tyne Dock, at 11am, and St Jude’s Parish Hall, at Rekendyke, South Shields, at noon.
Members of the group are keen to meet those who need help from the food banks and those providing practical support.
Later in the day, statutory and referral agencies will provide evidence to the group.