Foodbank launches search for new base as charity celebrates 'amazing' Christmas donations
Volunteers at a Wearside foodbank have begun a search for a new home as they hand out a record number of parcels to those in need.
Washington Community Food Project has given out more than 1,400 food parcels so far this year - and in the run-up to Christmas, the team have praised their supporters for the "humbling" amount of donations they have received.
Maureen Bowman, the charity's secretary, told the Echo that they have been "absolutely inundated" with items for food parcels, and that the level of support from the public is "absolutely amazing".
She continued: "People come in and say 'you have restored my faith in humanity' and it really is humbling."
Nissan, Northumbrian Water, Washington Scouts, local churches and schools across the Washington area and the Echo among those who have made donations in the run-up to Christmas.
Thanks to everyone's kindness, the Project has taken in almost 200 crates of food for the festive season.
But as volunteers prepare to host the foodbank's annual Christmas Giveaway event, held at the Lighthouse Church on December 24 for those on the foodbank's books, thoughts have turned to what the New Year will bring as the organisation searches for a new base.
Oxclose Church is currently the Project's main hub, where food is stored and parcels are made then distributed.
Due to development at the church, and the growing need for the foodbank, the hunt is on for somewhere new.
The team are looking for a secure room, which can be locked, to use for storage and distribution - and they are calling on the public for help, if they have a space to spare.
Clive Bowman, Maureen's husband and Project chairman, has spoken of the growing need for their service.
In 2016, the Washington Community Food Project handed out 772 food parcels. Last year, they handed out 1,154.
In 2018 so far, they have given out 1,460 - almost double the number from two years ago.
Clive also told the Echo that the Project has had an "exceptional year" with support coming from many organisations including Shiney Row Advice Centre, the Washington Independent Support Project, the Foyle Foundation, the Hadrian Trust and the People's Postcode Trust.
The foodbank is a registered charity and is run entirely bu volunteers. They rely on the goodwill and support of the community to get emergency parcels to the people who need them.
Maureen added: "It's a wonderful thing, the way the world is at the moment, to know there are so many people out there to help other people."
When and where the foodbank operates
Monday: St Michael’s Church, Sulgrave, 10am until 12pm
Monday: Washington Community Furnishings, Barmston, 10am until 4pm
Monday: Washington MIND, Columbia, 9am until 4pm
Tuesday: Oxclose Church, Oxclose, 10am until 11pm and 5.30pm until 6.30pm
Tuesday: Washington Community Furnishings, Barmston, 10am until 4pm
Tuesday: Washington MIND, Columbia, 9am until 4pm
Wednesday: St George’s Church, Harraton, 1pm until 2pm
Wednesday: Washington Community Furnishings, Barmston, 10am until 4pm
Wednesday: Washington MIND, Columbia, 9am until 4pm
Thursday: Lighthouse Church, Concord, 10.30am until 12pm
Thursday: Washington Community Furnishings, Barmston, 10am until 4pm
Thursday: Washington MIND, Columbia, 9am until 4pm
Friday: Oxclose Church, Oxclose, 10am until 11am and 5.30pm until 6.30pm
Friday: Washington Community Furnishings, Barmston, 10am until 2pm
Friday: Washington MIND, Columbia, 9am until 1pm
Saturday: Washington Community Furnishings, Barmston, 10am until 1pm
If you want to make a donation, visit the foodbank's Facebook page to find out what they need during the following week. After Christmas, there is usually a need for long-life milk, tinned fruit and potatoes, and custard.
For more information about the foodbank, or if you can help them in their search for a new base, please contact administrator Carol Rowe through their Facebook page, Washington Community Food Project, here.