December 8 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
A food bank has said it has supported more than 1,000 people within its first year.
Stowmarket Foodbank held a supporters’ lunch in the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts in the town to mark its first birthday.
Mike Smith from the food bank’s headquarters in New Life Church, Combs Ford, said: “It’s been very busy, we have done a lot in the first year. At the beginning we would have planned to do 100-150 parcels and so far we have done over 350.
“We had a manic month in August when we did 51 parcels. There were some big changes - with no free school dinners during the holidays - it pushed it way up over our normal capacity.”
The food bank covers a huge area between Bury St Edmunds to Ipswich and goes as far south as Hadleigh.
But Mr Smith said he knew people had concerns they were being used by people who “do not want to work”.
“People are concerned that we are giving food to people who do no want to work and that’s not what we are about,” he said.
“Who we feed is people with a genuine need who have been referred by an agency. It’s going to people with a genuine need and not people who are lazy.”
The food bank is now preparing to support people in the run up to Christmas.
TV cook Delia Smith launched the food bank in its opening ceremony last year.
The initiative has been organised by Stowmarket Churches Together and intends to provide food for people on a short-term basis.
Eight churches were involved in the project from the start with people being able to leave food in red collection boxes.
There are also food banks in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury.
For more information on the food bank call 01449 774000.