25,000 meals a year served by food bank

Volunteers at New Hope Food Bank David Dalton and Kenny Davidson prepare food parcels for families in need
Volunteers at New Hope Food Bank David Dalton and Kenny Davidson prepare food parcels for families in need
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A food bank served almost 25,000 meals to needy families in less than a year.

Volunteers at the New Hope Food Bank in Killamarsh, which provides three meals a day for a week to those struggling to make ends meet, say demand is still on the rise.

The bank provides help to residents living in a six-mile radius, including Dronfield, Clowne and Creswell, and sometimes provides 1,000 meals in a week.

Co-ordinator Michelle Taurins said: “In the first 10 months I would estimate that we are up to at least 24,000 meals.

“I really do wonder what people did before food banks now.

“One of the biggest problems people have is zero hour contracts, people are taking these jobs because they need them then not getting any work at all.

“We have seen extreme cases where people have had their Jobseeker’s Allowance taken away because they could not attend their appointment because they were looking after somebody who is terminally ill in their family.

“We have more and more agencies coming to us asking if they can refer people to us but we are stopping at 17 agencies until we get more donations coming in because we don’t want to spread the service too thinly.

“It is the most vulnerable people that are affected.”

Sheffield Council Labour councillors have urged Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg to take action to tackle poverty as the city now has 16 food banks offering help to families.

The plight of a pupil who had not eaten all weekend also spurred Handsworth Grange Community Sports College to install two food bank collection boxes.

Coun Jack Scott, cabinet member for environment, recycling and streetscene, said: “In today’s society it is appalling and shocking that even one family feels they can’t make ends meet to such an extent that they can’t afford to eat.

“We are one of the richest nations in the world and yet we are seeing some of the most terrible cases of poverty in years because of the huge financial pressures being put on hard-working families.”

A spokesman for Nick Clegg said food banks first started to operate under the Labour Government and councillors should not use it as a ‘political football’ when volunteers did good work.

He added: “There are numerous ways in which the Government is helping the very poorest in our society, including the availability of crisis loans, the Healthy Start scheme which helps low income families buy healthy food and the provision of free fruit and veg to children in primary school. From September all five to seven year olds will receive a free lunch.”