Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A message from Dunstable Foodbank



Dunstable Foodbank began in mid-September 2012 under the auspices of the Trussell Trust. The food is collected at supermarkets and together with other regular donations by local people for local people, each distribution centre holds a small stock of emergency food ready to meet the needs of those in our community in Dunstable, Houghton Regis and surrounding villages. Referral agencies use their professional judgement and knowledge of a client’s situation before offering a Foodbank voucher for the client and their immediate dependants.

The number of referral agencies has risen to 74 with ‘red vouchers’ being held at many churches, schools, GPs, Citizens Advice Bureau, social service agencies, and many other specialised agencies. The trained volunteers in the distribution centres are all members of local churches and treat all information in strictest confidence. In the first 6 months up to the end of March 2013, Dunstable Foodbank helped 949 clients and their dependants, as each voucher issued is exchanged for non-perishable food for 3 days. An average of 31.6 people helped each week.

Since then, sadly, numbers have continued to increase with the current average at almost 60 people per week and we have already helped more than 2500 since April. Of these, 48% are under 16 – even in our area, children are going hungry. Each month 2 tons of food is distributed. More recently, we have been able to extend the range of basic human necessities available to clients to include soap, shampoo, toothpaste & brushes, deodorant, toilet tissue, etc. Whilst our first goal is, and will remain, to be able to offer food to those in crisis, to be able to help to restore dignity is a worthy secondary cause.

Some clients are in paid employment but do not have enough for the most basic of all essentials – food. Many really are faced with a ‘heat or eat’ decision. All of us involved in Dunstable Foodbank wish that there wasn’t the level of need that we face every day – but the experience of the past year has shown there is, and that need is both ongoing and growing.

http://dunstable.foodbank.org.uk/

Peter Meadows, Operations Manager

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