A COMMUNITY group is calling on people to have a post-Christmas clear-out as they help to feed the needy.
The Food Emergency East Durham (Feed) project sends out basic food parcels to families and individuals in a crisis.
The scheme has been launched by the East Durham Trust, based in Peterlee, and says the rise in redundancies, benefits cuts and an increase in the cost of living has seen a greater demand for help.
The packages will be distributed through a network of volunteers, to 100 families in the first phase of the campaign.
The project has been supported by Awards for All and County Durham NHS, but organisers say they will also need additional aid from public donations.
Collection boxes are being set up across Easington in central community locations.
Leaders hope supporters can spare a small contribution and are being encouraged to donate food items such as tinned beans, spaghetti, fruit or vegetable, meat or fish or desserts, dried pasta, rice, cereals or other items which are non-perishable.
All items collected by donation will boost those purchased through the Fair Share scheme.
The trust will be recruiting 12 volunteers to act as Feed advocates.
After receiving relevant training, the helpers will be accredited to issue vouchers for parcels to those identified as in need.
Volunteers will also be required to collect the food donations from collection points, make food parcels and then distribute where necessary.
Malcolm Fallow, chief executive of the trust, said: “Anyone, through no fault of their own, can find them self in an unexpected crisis situation.
“Benefit cuts, redundancies, an unexpected bill or sudden ill health can all mean than a household’s cashflow is seriously affected.
“These parcels are a response to these crisis situations.
“We have been overwhelmed at the number of people who have come forward with donations or offers of support. Maybe community spirit isn’t as dead as we thought.”