Sunderland families use less food and energy to cope with bills

Then Bishop of Durham Right Revd Justin Welby helping the One for the Basket food parcel initiative at Sunderland Minster with Jessica May, Sunderland Partnership Manager.

Then Bishop of Durham Right Revd Justin Welby helping the One for the Basket food parcel initiative at Sunderland Minster with Jessica May, Sunderland Partnership Manager.

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WEARSIDERS are surviving on less food in an effort to keep a roof over their heads.

New figures show 30 per cent of people in the North East cut back on buying food last year in an attempt to stay in their homes.

Twenty-three per cent also cut back on gas and electricity to help their mortgage costs.

As the cost of living rises, food banks are being inundated with requests for handouts.

Reverend Martin Anderson, priest at Sunderland Minster, is chairman of Sunderland Partnership’s One for the Basket food parcel initiative.

“We have seen an increase across the distribution centres in the number of people requesting food,” he said.

“We understand that this is going to increase significantly more as people are affected by the changes to benefits, and we are working together to do what we can as the needs of people rise.”

The initiative – launched in November by the now Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby – encourages people to add an extra item to their shopping basket which they can then drop off at a distribution point in Sunderland, to be put into a food parcel. Rev Anderson said: “I think for some people living on a small amount of money, everything is extremely difficult, and I think that as a city we need to be astute in looking over our shoulder for those – even immediately close to us – to make sure support is given to those who genuinely need help.

“It is extraordinary, I think, that in 2013, people in our society are asking for donations of food.”

To donate or ask for a parcel, call the Minster on 565 4066.