STRATFORD Foodbank is now helping people from all walks of life and as a result experienced the busiest month on record in January, the audience was told at the charity’s AGM earlier this month.
“We’ve seen an increased need for Foodbank in Stratford and we are supplying 300 food parcels a month this is because of universal credit and low incomes that don’t match the cost of living,” Marion Homer, Stratford Foodbank manager said at the AGM.
Opened in January 2013, Stratford Foodbank has provided 10,781 parcels to date and the spike in January this year is 200 parcels more than the average monthly amount expected.
While the Foodbank provides a vital service to the community, Marion Homer was quick to remind the audience that the charity’s goals are long term.
“We don’t want to be a sticking plaster. We’re here to try and help people work their way out of their crisis. Overall this is a community project reliant on volunteers to deliver a lifeline to many people in Stratford. We are seeing a regrettable increase in numbers coming to us who are giving low income as their main reason for accessing support. This suggests to us work is not paying enough for many people to support their families and that benefit waits are too long. If I wanted to be controversial I would say it is wrong that voluntary sector is being relied on to fix the holes in our current system. We are now earnestly looking for a new premises where we have the space to spend more time with our clients and can better advise them on how to move out of their particular crises. We would appeal to anyone who thinks they can help with this through fundraising, partnership work, or identifying a particular building or location etc to make contact with us,” Marion Homer said.
The Foodbank collects food from a whole range of sources – individuals, groups, churches, schools, supermarkets, businesses and community groups.
“Every piece of food is treated as if it were a financial grant our current weight of food is 8.5 tonnes which is valued at £15,000. The food parcels a nutritionally balanced and designed to last three days,” said Marion Homer.