South Shields food bank's urgent appeal as supplies run low ahead of school holidays

A food bank has thanked the community for quickly responding to its appeal for donations – but said more are still urgently needed as the school holidays get set to start.

By Sophie Brownson
Thursday, 11 July, 2019, 06:00

Founded in 2002, it relies solely on donations – and with the school holidays approaching they say they are needed more than ever to help families on low incomes.

Hospitality and Hope chief executive Paul Oliver.

After launching an appeal for help last week, charity bosses say they have received a number of donations from members of the public and supermarkets.

But as schools get set to break up for summer next week, Paul Oliver, chief executive of Hospitality and Hope, said the charity is still in urgent need of help.

He said: “We’re truly thankful for those people who have taken the time to come and show us their support, which is going to be vital as we enter the summer holiday period.

“Our food bank stores are still running low, so any further donations would be greatly appreciated.”

Paul Oliver, chief executive of Hospitality and Hope, has thanked the community for their support.

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Over the last 12 months more than 3,500 people have been helped by the charity.

It has 180 local agencies from across the region referring into it and every week it receives around 30 referrals – a figure that is expected to double to around 60 per week during the school holidays.

And to cope with the increasing demand for the service the food bank is now looking to expand.

Charity bosses said it is seeking larger or additional premises and is appealing for anyone who can help to get in touch.

As well as its food bank, the charity also operates a soup kitchen, clothing bank and has shower and laundry facilities for people in crisis.

It offers supported accommodation, a coffee shop social enterprise and well-being activities.

The food bank is in particular need of donations including toiletries, coffee and long-life milk, along with tinned tuna, tomatoes, potatoes vegetables, fruit and rice pudding.

Donations can be dropped off at the Hampden Street Centre or via one of the charity’s supermarket collection points.