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Food bank helps in a crisis

Cllr Scott Dickinson, Business Chair Northumberland County Council, Christine Graham, Executive Head Teacher at James Calvert Spence College and students.

Cllr Scott Dickinson, Business Chair Northumberland County Council, Christine Graham, Executive Head Teacher at James Calvert Spence College and students.

A food bank has helped out more than 800 families since it was set up, with 127 food bags handed out over the recent festive period.

The north Northumberland food bank was set up in September 2012 to provide bags of food and other items that people in crisis may need.

In the last month, which includes Christmas, 122 adults and 80 children from across the area were fed by the facility.

Food and parcels are stored at Alnwick Garden and packed in Berwick while children’s centres in the towns, as well as Wooler and Amble, hold bags of items ready to go out, as well as a small stock.

Food is donated by a number of different sources including from churches, agencies, schools, libraries, individuals, clubs and events.

There is also a giving point at Morrisons and Tesco, which, in partnership with Fareshare, help to collect in store over two weekends per year, with the last collection bringing in 76 crates of food.

Jan Casson, programme manager, said: “The food is provided to a wide range of people, in all sorts of circumstances. Aas a Citizens’ Advice Bureau manager said recently, ‘they are young and old, in work and unemployed, families, pregnant and single people’.

“A common reason to request a food parcel is the unexpected, a large bill, a reduction in income, a delay in the processing of a benefit entitlement, not everyone has savings for.

“The food bank only works because of the generosity of the local community and the wonderful volunteers, who collect, pack and distribute the food, they come in weekly to stock rotate, pack bags and make lists.

“Berwick Community Trust has donated free office accommodation which acts as the main packing centre and Alnwick Garden kindly allows us free storage.”

In Alnwick, Pam Swain organised shoeboxes to be filled with goods such as Christmas boxes for families.

These were collected by Classsic Footwear in Alnwick and handed to the food bank to be handed out.

A huge pile of toys and presents were also donated.

 

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