Christmas looms and the need for a foodbank grows

Driffield Foodbank is launching a major appeal this week for donations of food and toys to help those less fortunate this Christmas.

The foodbank helps people, often families with young children, who find themselves in hardship and who are struggling to put food on the table.

It provides bags of tinned and non-perishable food, as well as toiletries and essential household items, to people from all walks of life in financial crisis from its base at the Parish rooms at All Saints Church on Middle Street North.
Between 5th November and 23rd November this year, the town’s foodbank helped to feed 39 adults and 51 children across Driffield and the surrounding villages.

During this time, the charity distributed 624.7kg of food and received in donations 177.85kg, reflecting the increasing need for donations.

This week volunteers from the foodbank will be in Tesco to promote their food drive and ask the people of Driffield to once again support the charity.

Angela Train, who manages the Driffield Foodbank, explained the importance of the donations of food and toys to the foodbank, especially as Christmas approaches.
She said: “The generosity of the people of Driffield is overwhelming, but sadly the need for the foodbank is growing.

“The majority of people we help are ordinary hard working people who are struggling to make ends meet.

“They are often people who have been made redundant, or who are living close to the edge and have an unexpected bill to pay or a change in benefits which leaves them short of money.

“The support we can give them in food supplies means for some that they are able to keep a roof over their heads.

“We are the last resort for people. It is very hard for so many of the people we help to come to us, but they find they have no choice.”

The foodbank launched in Driffield in September 2013. It is managed and run by volunteers from Driffield Churches Together, who joined forces with the Holderness Foodbank based in Hornsea and the Beverley foodbank to provide an outpost for the Wolds region, creating the Holderness and Wolds Foodbank.

The Holderness and Wolds Foodbank is part of a national network of foodbanks operating through the Trussell Trust.

The distribution of food works through a voucher system. Vouchers can be issued by registered care professionals such as social care workers and health visitors, as well as the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, the Children’s Centre and Church leaders.

A professional, who is aware of a need, can issue a voucher which can then be redeemed by presenting this at the foodbank where it is exchanged for three days worth of food.
Angela added that the need for the foodbank is even greater at this time of year.

She said: “Last Christmas we had some mums who came to us because in order to buy their children a Christmas present they couldn’t afford to eat and it was so important to them to save up to buy their child something for Christmas.

“We have also just launched our Toy Drive which is an appeal for new toys for children and teens. For some families this is the only way they can afford to get their children a present for Christmas.

“At Christmas we double up the amount of food we give in the bags and we also provide hampers, with seasonal food and treats.
“We are so fortunate to live in a community like Driffield which really knows how to look after itself. We receive so much support from local businesses and from the generous people of the town and the surrounding villages.

“Rafters has offered us a discount on carrots and sprouts so we can give out some fresh vegetables just before Christmas and Sugarshack has donated advent calendars, to name just two local businesses.

“We receive tremendous support from the churches, local schools and this summer from the Lifestyle team.

“This is the most rewarding and yet frustrating job I have ever had because we never feel as if we are doing enough and we always want to do more to help.”

As demand grows, the foodbank is facing pressure on its storage space for the donations. Food is currently being transported between the Holderness and Wolds Foodbank warehouse in Hornsea and Driffield.

Angela added: “We have put in planning permission for a warehouse behind the Driffield Christian Fellowship building on Wansford Road, but ideally we need a new community building which could house the foodbank and have multiple purposes such as a youth drop in and facilities for older people as well as a facility for crisis housing.”

Items needed include Christmas food and goodies, soup, pasta sauces, tinned vegetables and fruit, tinned meat and fish, cereal, rice pudding/custard, fruit juice/cordial, instant mash, milk UHT/powder, chocolates/treats, biscuits and sugar. Nappies, toilet rolls, toiletries, washing powder and new toys for Christmas presents.

Donations to Driffield Foodbank can also be made directly. Their opening hours are: Mondays 1:30pm-3pm and Thursdays 2pm-4pm.
Donations of food or money can also be left in the boxes at any of the churches in Driffield or at the Town Council offices.
In addition, Tesco has a bin in store where you can donate food which you have purchased there. In addition to providing this the store has offered to donate 30% of the value of each full bin to the foodbank.

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