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Sunderland Foodbank in need of donations as summer holiday demand increases

A foodbank volunteer sorting items.
A foodbank volunteer sorting items.

Four families a day in Sunderland are taking parcels from foodbanks to feed themselves over the summer.

Chiefs at the city’s Foodbank laid bare the dire situation many families find themselves in over the school holidays, following the release of figures by anti-poverty charity, The Trussell Trust.

Items donated at a foodbank.

Items donated at a foodbank.

The trust’s network of over 420 foodbanks, which Sunderland foodbank is part of, provided 3,500 more three day emergency food supplies to children during July and August 2017 compared to the previous two months.

Sunderland Foodbank itself has handed out over 1,000 three-day food parcels to individuals and families so far in 2018, and organisers say they are now running low on supplies to those struggling to feed themselves and their children.

Families who rely on free school meals at primary school during term time can find themselves facing hunger in the school holidays, when there is extra financial pressure to provide main meals.

Last year a report from The All Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger estimated the loss of free school meals during the holidays adds between £30 and £40 a week to parents’ outgoings for one child.

The foodbank, which runs centres in Sunderland, Hetton, Houghton, and Fence Houses, has urged local families to seek help if they are struggling to afford food this summer, and asks local people able to donate to support their work in the community.

Kate Townsend, Sunderland Foodbank co-ordinator, said: “Lots of people are just getting by day-to-day but find their income simply won’t stretch to meet the extra pressure of missing free school meals or paying for extra childcare during the holidays.

“Help is here in Sunderland.

“Everyone who comes to the foodbank is referred by a local agency who holds our vouchers so we’d encourage anyone worried they won’t be able to afford food this summer to talk to Citizens’ Advice, ShARP, FISCUS or Pallion Action Group.”

Ms Townsend added that the foodbank is in need of donations from the public to cope with demand.

“We get a lot of donations around the Christmas period, which we stockpile, but by the late summer those have almost run dry,” she said.

“That’s why we’re in need of items now.

“It’s only with the community’s help that we’re able to continue, as we rely on local donations to run the foodbank.”

For up-to-date lists of urgently needed food, information about where donations can be left and to contact the foodbank about possible collection points, visit www.sunderland.foodbank.org.uk or search Facebook or Twitter for Sunderland Foodbank.