Rocketing demand for Stratford Foodbank’s services is forcing the charity to seek a new home.
During the first four months of 2019 Stratford Foodbank delivered 1,190 emergency food parcels, an average of 297 per month, representing a 63 per cent year on year increase.
Such has been the demand that the charity now needs to find a new headquarters where stock can be sorted and stored and foodbank users can feel safe to talk in confidence.
To make this happen the Foodbank will launch a fundraising campaign this summer with an immediate target to raise £35,000 to cover the cost of a potential year’s rental at a new premises.
Foodbank manager Marion Homer, said: “No one in Stratford upon Avon should need a food bank’s help. We want to see an end to local people needing emergency food at all. It doesn’t have to be this way – our benefits system is supposed to protect us all from being swept into poverty. Universal Credit should be part of that solution, but the five week wait is leaving many without enough money to cover the basics. This isn’t right. It shames us all when a society like ours, believing itself to be built on compassion and justice, allows foodbank volunteers to pick up the pieces of a broken system.
“We are so grateful to Tesco who have allowed us to pitch up in their car park to deliver this essential service to the town, and to SITEL who allow us to store food in their warehouse. However, from our inception we have been on the back foot. No one expected, when the Foodbank launched in 2013, that 6 years later we would be feeding just shy of 300 people a month – we are a long way from ‘going out of business’. Whilst we don’t accept that it’s right our volunteers should be plugging this gap in social welfare; we will continue to support those in crisis whilst highlighting how wrong it is that we need to do this work in the first place.
“Now is the time for the Foodbank to get off the back foot and, reluctantly, to plan for the future. Until we reach a future where food banks are no longer needed, we’ll continue to provide vital support when it matters most. We’re dedicated to ensuring that the people in our community without enough money for food are able to access emergency support. Our vital work has only been possible in the last year because of the incredible generosity shown by local people in donating food, time and funds.”
For more information about Stratford Foodbank visit https://stratforduponavon.foodbank.org.uk/ .