A FOOD bank which helps the needy urgently needs new donors.
Durham Foodbank, formed by the multi-denominational Durham Christian Partnership, has given more than 10,000 meals to 1,100 people since it was formed late last year.
About two-and-a-half tons of tinned and non-perishable food is needed every month to satisfy demand.
“Unfortunately, there are plenty of people in need of our service,” said co-ordinator Peter MacLellan. “Many families have little in the way of savings and are just one missing pay cheque away from a crisis.
“The current changes in benefits are also causing problems, because the money is delayed.
“It may be back-dated eventually, but that doesn’t help the person in the short term.”
Peter is appealing to supermarket managers to follow the lead of Sainsbury’s in the Arnison Centre, Durham City, and allow his volunteers to give food bank lists to shoppers.
“The shopper buys one or two items from the bank list as part of their shop,” said Peter. “On the way out they deposit the bank items with us, so there’s no need for them to carry extra home, or make a special journey to drop off the items.
“From the supermarket’s point of view it’s a winner because it means extra sales.
“I was at the last collection we did at Sainsbury’s and there was no evidence shoppers resented being given a list on their way in.
“We were donated two tons of food that day, so it’s a significant source of help to us.”
Peter is grateful to Sainsbury’s, which has given permission for three collections a year. “They couldn’t be expected to do a lot more,” he added. “We have also done a collection at Morrison’s in Chester-le-Street, but we need more supermarkets to get involved.
“Members of the public can help us by setting up collection points at places of work.
“Dried goods such as pasta and tins of meat, fish and fruit are the sort of things we need.”
Anyone able to help can contact Peter MacLellan on 303 7559.
l The Durham Foodbank, based at the Evangel Church, Durham Road, Chester-le-Street, was blessed during a goodwill visit by the Bishop of Durham, the Very Reverend Justin Welby.