Hebburn Helps food bank reports rise in ‘working poor’ as thousands use service in 2019

The founders of a South Tyneside food bank have reported a rise in the ‘working poor’ as they reveal their latest figures.

Hebburn Helps community food bank and crisis centre, based on Campbell Park Road, has had thousand of people through the door in 2019 so far.

Founders Angie Comerford and Jo Durkin have revealed that since January this year the food bank has seen 1,759 individual referrals and supported 95 pets, as they approach their busiest time of year.

In addition, they have handed out 2,190 free food parcels which are made up of surplus goods from local supermarkets and available for anyone in the community to collect every Friday.

Angie Comerford (left) and Jo Durkin appeal for more sanitary product donations earlier this year.

The food bank, which is due to experience its busiest period in the lead up to Christmas, has also seen a change in the type of people accessing the service this year, with an increase in working families needing their help.

“We’ve had a lot more working families coming in this year and they are a different type of food bank-user,” said Angie.

“When you’re working your backside off day in day out and you still can’t afford to put food on the table and you’re still struggling on at a food bank, it’s got to be so disheartening, it’s just not right.

“The government has a lot to answer for.”

Angie Comerford (left) and Jo Durkin launch their Christmas appeals.

Angie believes the increase they have seen this year is down to an increased awareness in society of the numbers of working families living in poverty.

She continued: “Previously there was a feeling that they are working so they don’t need help, but now there’s more awareness about the working poor they don’t feel too proud to walk through the door anymore, they need help just the same.

“You hear on a daily basis about the desperation but when it comes to the working poor, they shouldn’t have to be living like this, it’s heartbreaking.”

Angie added: “I want to thank everybody for their continued support, we’re so lucky to have the community behind us, without them we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”

Find out how you can help families in need this Christmas at www.hebburnhelps.co.uk