South Tyneside charity says thanks for food boost

Paul Oliver of Hospitality and Hope.
Paul Oliver of Hospitality and Hope.

Bosses at a busy South Tyneside food bank have praised people in South Tyneside for putting the meat on the bones of an urgent appeal for help.

Hospitality and Hope say hundreds of items were donated within days of their call in Thed Gazette for urgent supplies to restock its shelves which were nearly empty.

Donations included an estimated 20 carrier bags of food and other household essentials from children and staff at one borough primary school.

Despite the fast and effective response, staff fear the newly-donated supplies may last just three weeks.

They have now asked for donations to be made consistently, so that they always have enough stock to help individuals and families in crisis.

Operations and development officer Paul Oliver, 44, said: “There was a fantastic response, with hundreds of much-needed items given, including Cleadon Church of England Academy who had a wheelie bin full of donations.

“While the short-term response was tremendous, and we are very grateful for it, the new stock will probably only last a few weeks.

“Ideally, we would like the great support we received to be consistent and for donations to be made regularly.”

The charity estimates it has seen a 30 per cent rise in support requests in just six months, jumping to 45 per cent in June.

It has given over 1,200 food parcels to individuals and families in need this year.

Bosses largely lay the blame at delayed benefits payments, which it claims are driving families towards poverty.

Mr Oliver believes his Christian faith-based organisation’s support can mean the difference between a child staying in the family home or going into care.

It helps the homeless, rough sleepers, people in debt or suffering sickness, and those on low incomes or suffering domestic abuse.

Based in Hampdon Street, off Stanhope Road, near Chichester, its food bank works on a referral system.

Anyone wishing to donate is asked to call in advance on 0191 420 3336.

More information on donating is at www.hospitalityandhope.co.uk and on Facebook and Twitter @hospitalityhope.