A NEW community food bank has been launched to give parcels to families who are “going hungry”.
More than 20 groups have joined with The Cyrenians FareShare North East to stop food going into landfill sites and instead into the hands of those struggling.
The Peterlee organisation will receive donations from a range of suppliers including Greggs, the Co-op, Sainsbury’s and Ringtons.
They will go to community groups and to provide food parcels for families who find it hard to afford food in East Durham.
Michael Shields, general manager of FareShare North East, said: “The help of many partners, including East Durham Partnership and East Durham Trust, have helped us to reach more and support better, many of the region’s 5,000 charities and voluntary groups.
“This support for many, many people is at its most critical and basic – helping make sure they have enough to eat day to day.
“It’s a startling fact that today, right here in the North-East, there are people going hungry.”
Everyone at the launch event was treated to a lunch cooked by former Masterchef finalist David Coulson, head chef at the Castle Eden Inn, using only FareShare North East items.
It was backed by agencies including the East Durham Trust, which supports more than 300 voluntary groups in the Peterlee and the East Durham area, and the East Durham Partnership, a social enterprise based in Horden.
Malcolm Fallon, chief executive of the East Durham Trust, said: “With a significant proportion of families suffering financial hardship in East Durham, it is vital we can ensure food is available to people who need it.
“The Cyrenians FareShare North East is an environmentally sustainable way to do this.”
A new scheme has also been launched on Wearside.
The Washington Food Bank was started by Joanne Dawson and like-minded friends to help women who have suffered from domestic abuse and anyone else in urgent need to food.
The 37-year-old said: “People talk about violence now, but they don’t talk about the financial aspect of it.
“It puts them off leaving their violent partner because of the financial difficulties.
“When you’ve got children you’re going to give them food first, not that I’m saying to should put yourself first, but it leaves you in need.
“The charity’s not just for women though, it’s for everyone.”
The food bank is appealing for help to fund and run its new base, in Front Street, Concord.
“If anyone could offer us any financial, or any sort of support, we would appreciate the help,” said Joanne.
Anyone who would like to help can contact her on 0777 565 1806.