Needy walking 20 miles for free food
Published at 16:37, Thursday, 06 December 2012
SOUTH Cumbria’s food crisis has reached disturbing levels following shocking revelations some people are walking up to 20 miles to access emergency rations.
A coalition of local churches is desperate to open satellite branches of the Barrow Foodbank in Ulverston and Millom to ease the region’s growing rate of chronic hunger.
The urgency comes as reports emerge that some residents are having to walk from Ulverston to Barrow to pick up their food parcels.
The Barrow Foodbank has fed 248 adults and 55 children since opening its doors in late July and it has become increasingly apparent to organisers that the need for food relief extends far beyond Barrow’s boundaries.
Ulverston Parish Church – in conjunction with four or five other churches in the town – will distribute the first food parcels from its Church Walk site tomorrow morning.
Reverend Andy Batchelor said: “The Barrow people are aware that there is a number of Ulverston people – some of them walking over to Barrow – that are in need.
“It’s not just people who are unemployed, but also people who maybe have jobs but they’re not the kind of jobs that bring in enough money to support the family, which is disturbing.”
The Barrow and District Disability Association is one of the few organisations with the power to refer users to the foodbank.
Its honorary secretary Margaret Burrow MBE said: “We have come across people whose benefits have not come through because of all the changes and we have had to make referrals to the foodbank.”
Pastor Fred McKeown from Millom Community Church said there was undoubtedly a need in the town.
“I’m 100 per cent behind having foodbanks in the community, but it would only work if it was a joint effort between the churches,” he said.
Meanwhile, Barrow Foodbank’s future is looking increasingly secure after the country’s biggest supermarket chain pledged its long-term support.
Tesco has signed a seven-year partnership agreement with the charity Trussell Trust, which oversees a network of more than 280 foodbanks across the UK.
And, in an added boost, the grocery giant has also committed to topping up donations by 30 per cent and providing funding to the organisations responsible for the foodbanks.
Foodbank treasurer Dot Jackson said the scheme would not only result in more donations, but also free it from many of the expenses that come with running the growing service.
“It’s really a big bonus for us,” she said. “This is really important because we’ve never had to buy food before due to the generosity of people in the area who donate every week.
“But we still need things like printing ink and paper and markers and we will be able to get these from Tesco using this new card system, which is fantastic.”
Last weekend, a Christmas drive at Tesco in Barrow saw 1,185 kilograms of food – equivalent to the weight of a car – donated by local shoppers.
The Ulverston Foodbank will be open at the Church Walk site from 11am to 1pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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