South Shields charity appeals for help to restock its '˜severely depleted' foodbank
A South Tyneside food bank has issued an urgent appeal for help after a huge upsurge in demand for its services from families in crisis.
Hospital and Hope has warned its stocks – depleted by a 30 per cent rise in support requests in just six months - quickly need replenishing.
In June alone, its hard pressed team saw a staggering 45 per cent jump compared to the end of last year.
That means over 1,200 food parcels have been given out so far this year, up from around 900 in the six months to December.
Bosses lay the blame at delayed benefits payments which they claim are driving families towards poverty.
They say the impact of changes by the government to the benefits system has been such that over half its referrals are now due to payment hold-ups.
And with the onset of the summer holidays, they fear the number of people coming to them for potentially last line help may jump even higher.
That is due to the absence of school mealtime support for children, which can put even greater strain on the budgets of the most vulnerable.
Operations and development officer Paul Oliver, 44, warned: “The trend is up and is likely to go up further in the coming weeks.
“The help we provide can be everything to someone who is in desperate need, it can put the meal they need on the table.
“We know from experience that in some cases it can be the difference between a child staying in the family home or going into care.
“The homeless, rough sleepers, people in debt or suffering sickness, and those on low incomes, all need our help.”
He added: “A food parcel from us can bring relief to those in need, but our food stocks are currently severely depleted due to the unprecedented demand we are experiencing.
“We are now in the school holidays and will enter a really busy time for the foodbank with even more referrals. We need help now.”
Hospitality and Hope is a Christian faith-based charitable organisation which helps vulnerable and needy individuals and families.
Based in Hampden Street, off Stanhope Road, near Chichester, South Shields, it also operates a soup kitchen service.
Its food bank works on a referral system where experts identify people in crisis and issue them with a foodbank voucher.
Food collection points are at ASDA stores in Boldon and South Shields, Sainsbury’s, in Stanhope Road and at the Nook, South Shields, and Wilko, at South Shields marketplace.
Anyone wishing to donate is asked to call in advance on 0191 420 3336.