Food banks are becoming more common, as poverty levels remain high, and for those struggling, turning to a local food bank for support is sometimes essential to survive.
Food banks provide one of our most basic needs, usually in the form of emergency food parcels for a family struggling to pay the bills or anyone else in need.
Despite the number of food banks in the country increasing, their impact often goes unnoticed, as does the support they offer along with the food parcels they give out.
Thorne and Moorends Community Hub and Food Bank was opened in 2014 when residents recognised that there was an urgent need in their Doncaster community.
Glenys, aged 68, and 70-year-0ld Mike Hennessey founded and continue to run the hub alongside a core team of volunteers.
Glenys said: “We started as just a food bank but we realised that we had become more than that and were offering many different kinds of support to the people coming to us for help.
“We always find a way to help if we can and we have links with children, mental health and homeless services and more to make sure we can.
“We also have a welfare advisor and drugs and alcohol advisor available to talk to at the hub too.
“At the moment we are open every Wednesday from 9am to noon at the Rugby Club in Thorne.
“We would like to be able to open five days a week so we are more accessible but we can’t afford the rent to do that.
“So, at the moment, we are looking to move to somewhere more affordable so we can open up more but we haven't found anywhere yet.”
The food bank works in partnership with supermarket chains to ensure food keeps coming in for their clients.
The volunteer team also works to have a supply of sleeping bags, clothes and other essentials on hand for people in need.
Local grant making charity South Yorkshire’s Community Foundation has supported the food bank since it began, with grants to help cover basic costs such as rent and to store food.
Ruth Willis, ch ief executive of the community foundation, said: “We have been more than happy to provide grant support to Thorne and Moorends Community Hub as they do so much for their local community.
“We know that our support, covering such basic essentials as rent, is the difference between services like this one being open and helping people to struggling to keep their doors open at all.
“Many of the grant awards to the food bank have been from our Tween Bridge Wind Farm Community Benefits Fund which has been key to helping charities and community groups in Doncaster to do their good work.
“We are always looking for more groups to apply to the fund, so get those applications in!”
Glenys added: “Our food parcels have enough in them for three days, along with a bag of fresh fruit and vegetables.
“We have actually started a community allotment which all of our volunteers run to grow fruit and vegetables for us to include in our parcels. Sometimes clients come and help us as well – which is great for everyone.
“The reasons people come to us for help are always changing.
“As it gets to the summer holidays we know that parents struggle because their children aren’t at school for some of their meals any more.
“Because of that we want to engage more with local schools so we can help educate children in food poverty in their community.
“Sometimes people are struggling because they have had their benefit payments stopped or are waiting because of some changes to them.
“A lot of the time we see people coming in with mental health problems due to their circumstances too.
“We had one young man come to us recently who told us that he was feeling suicidal because he had nothing.
“A week after seeing us he came back and said thank you and that we had helped him realise that there are reasons to keep going and people who do care.
“We want anyone who feels like that to come to us.
“Come over and have a cup of coffee and a slice of toast and talk to us – that’s what we’re here for.
“We would also love to have some more volunteers on the team as me and Mike aren’t as young as we used to be, so get in touch if you want to help out!”
To get in touch with the project email email@example.com or telephone 01405 948492.