Council steps up support for Sunderland's food banks as coronavirus crisis hits supplies while demand trebles
Sunderland Food Bank has seen demand treble since the start of the coronavirus crisis.
And others across the city are reporting a similar spike in demand.
Food banks are currently providing almost 500 people a week with food, supplying around 1,500 meals.
Sunderland Food Bank alone provides food to more than 200 people per week and estimates it will need more than four tonnes of supplies each month for food parcels to meet the increased demand, with other groups saying they are seeing similar increases.
The sharp rise in demand means food banks are running through their stockpiles at precisely the time it is most difficult to receive donations.
Sunderland City Council has donated a range of non-perishable items to Sunderland Foodbank and fresh produce such as fruit and vegetables to Loaves and Fishes in Hetton and Houghton’s Space4.
It has also donated its own stock of leftover fresh food to local community organisations and charities supporting vulnerable people across the city, including Hendon-based Chance, The Salvation Army and the YMCA.
Coun John Kelly, Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture at Sunderland City Council, said: “During these uncertain times it is more important than ever that we pull together and look out for people who may be struggling.
“I am delighted that the council is able to support foodbanks across the city when they need it most and I want to say a big thank you to everyone who is volunteering and going the extra mile.”
Major supermarkets have also ramped up donations to Sunderland food banks, with Morrison's sending additional supplies and encouraging their customers to donate, and Sunderland business Clearly Water donating substantial supplies of flavoured and still water for distribution across the city.
Jo Gordon, Sunderland Foodbank Coordinator, said: “Sunderland Foodbank would like to thank the council, our volunteers and all our donors for their continuing support at this critical time.
“Without the people of Sunderland behind us we could not pass on the help that people around us need.”