A village has launched its own foodbank to ensure its families do not go hungry.
Holy Trinity Church, in Front Street, Wingate, has set up its own session to run each Saturday from 10am to noon.
We were delighted to be of use to people from the very first day.Reverend Jane Grieves
It will help plug the gap in banks run in East Durham, which run elsewhere and during the week.
It is backed by the Trussell Trust, with the team of volunteers being trained so that in time they will be able to help people find other avenues of support.
People are referred to the bank for packages of aid through a voucher scheme, but anyone in need of a listening ear can call in and find a cup of tea or coffee, toast and cereal.
Reverend Jane Grieve is the priest in charge of the church and All Saints’ Church in Wheatley Hill.
She said: “We were delighted to be of use to people from the very first day.
“The voluntary team are continuing to receive training to be able to support people through food parcels and then in time be able to signpost them to other sources of help.
“We began because collected donations as we knew there would be a need with the introduction of Universal Credit.
“We knew there were people from Wingate and Station Town who were travelling to Peterlee and Trimdon, which were the nearest distribution points, and we felt there should be something available to them more locally.
“We also new the other points at the weekend were in Murton and further afield, so people were having to ask for a lift or finding another way there.”
Items are collected at the back of church and a basket is also set up in the village’s Co-op store.
Produce needed for the Trussell Trust stocks includes cereal, soup, pasta and sauce, rice, beans, tinned meat, vegetables and fruit, tea and coffee and biscuits.
The church is also gathering toiletries to offer to those in need.