Food bank launches seasonal appeal amid forecasts of unprecedented demand in the coming months
Food bank volunteers are expecting demand this winter will ‘massively exceed’ that of 2019 as they launch a seasonal appeal.
Angie Comerford of Hebburn Helps, which has its base at Campbell Park Road, made the grim prediction as various forms of government aid begin to taper off.
The food bank manager said that, although not all sectors of the local economy had yet begun to ‘feel the pinch’ brought on by the pandemic, the charity is bracing itself for its toughest winter since setting up in 2015.
Last year, the charity distributed almost 4,300 emergency food parcels to South Tyneside residents in the run-up to Christmas.
It also saw 234 food hampers were handed out to residents, while more than 5,000 toys were delivered to around 750 children in the area during the same period.
Hebburn Helps co-founder, Angie Comerford, told the Gazette about the scale of the demand the centre anticipates at year’s end.
"With furlough ending in the coming weeks,” she said. “We've only begun to feel the pinch in some areas - but we know it's coming.
"This year we are we are expecting to massively exceed 2019 and have already started making up our Reverse advent hampers as well as toy bags.
"Sadly with the current situation we are living in, we are expecting lots more families to apply for these this year and without the help of the generosity of our amazing community, we wouldn’t be able to cope with the demand.”
Analysis from the Trussell Trust indicates that a rise in demand for food parcels across its UK network could reach as high as 61% between now and December.
Angie urged readers to contribute what they can and has thanked South Tyneside residents for their ongoing support.
"If anyone is in need of help they can contact us either by phone which is 01914899707 or alternatively we have our Facebook group and page or Twitter or Instagram all under the name Hebburn Helps.
"We would like to say the biggest thank you in the land as always for the continued support we have been given by so many people.
"Without the support it would be impossible for us to do what we do. We are very grateful.”