The County Durham food bank where the shelves are 'sparse' as the cost of living crisis takes a toll

The rising cost of living is taking a toll on a food bank which already supports more than 600 people.

Supplies on the shelves at the East Durham Trust food bank have been described as ‘sparse’ – but officials are hoping a plea for help can pay dividends.

East Durham Trust supports more than 600 adults and children every month who can not afford to eat. They are given an emergency food parcel via its food poverty intervention project called FEED.

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But the demand on the project is growing. As food and fuel prices increase, FEED projects are seeing a sharp increase in referrals.

Laura Robinson, who volunteers at East Durham Trust which has appealed for more donations to its food bank. Picture by Tom Banks
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The trust’s officials say they are ‘increasingly concerned’ at how they can support the rising need in the community.

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The pressures come at the same time that many people are tightening their belts because they are also being hit by the cost of living increase, which also means that people are making fewer donations of perishable food items.

A trust spokesman said the two factors combined are ‘seeing the shelves of the food bank looking very sparse, with the project having to limit the amount of food they are able to provide in their parcels’.

East Durham Trust is appealing for donations for its food bank.

Deputy manager Lindsey Wood, said: “Usually at this time of year we are still able to meet local need with food items that were donated over the Christmas period, at time when we traditionally see a huge influx in support for the project.

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"This year the Christmas donations are all but gone, and we have growing concern of how we can continue to meet increasing community need.

“We receive referrals every day from people who are struggling to afford food and fuel. Many of the people we support have never accessed a food bank before and have only recently found themselves in this position.”

The trust is reaching out to people who can afford to put an extra tin or packet in their shopping basket and to donate to their emergency food project.

The project is also looking for volunteers who can spare some time to help sort and distribute donations.

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The FEED project is accessible by local people in financial hardship who are referred for support by professional agencies they are working with.

The trust also provides fuel vouchers, hot meals, benefit and debt advice, as well as opportunities for people to enjoy the arts and have social interaction.

The project is supported by a team of volunteers who give up their time every week to help collect and sort donations, make up food parcels, and take parcels to local community hubs for collection.

Officials said that extra hands to support the project were ‘always welcome, especially as times become more difficult and there is more work to do’.

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To make a donation, drop off food at Community House, Yoden Road, Peterlee, SR8 5DP. There are also donation points in Asda store in Peterlee and Sainsburys in Horden and Peterlee. A full list of donation points can be found on the Trust’s website at www.eastdurhamtrust.org.uk/feed

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