Stowmarket: Food bank sees need for parcels double since launch

Delia Smith at the launch of the Stowmarket Foodbank at Stowmarket Town Council Offices.

Delia Smith at the launch of the Stowmarket Foodbank at Stowmarket Town Council Offices. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

A FOODbank has seen the demand for emergency parcels double and one of the organisers says the situation is going to get worse.

When Stowmarket Foodbank opened in September last year, it was giving out 15 parcels to people in need each month.

But in the last three months the number has doubled to 30.

Mike Smith is pastor of New Life Church, in Stowmarket, which is the headquarters for the project.

He said: “We are expecting the demand to increase with the new round of benefit changes which are coming into effect this month. We think it will increase even more. Because of the high demand, our foodbank stocks are very reduced.

“I think it’s a worry for the people on benefits. All the people I am speaking to on benefits are waiting to see in the next few months how the changes will affect them.

“We are a first line of response to meet their needs in a time of need and we are not feeding the same family every week.”

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The foodbank is organising a collection day where shoppers will be asked to donate food they buy. The ‘Fill the Trolley’ day will take place on Thursday, May 16 outside the Asda supermarket in Stowmarket.

Mr Smith said it was still their belief that the benefits system worked effectively in general. However, he said: “We have had some people reporting that without us they would be struggling and they would have very little to eat.

“I have been travelling to Africa for 14 years and we have been feeding children and adults in east Africa for that number of years.

“I think we never ever thought we would be feeding people in Stowmarket and Suffolk. It’s a shock to us that we are feeding people.”

Since the foodbank’s launch they have delivered 165 parcels to people in the Stowmarket area.

Collection points have been set up in several churches and are now also in Co-op stores in nearby Haughley, Needham Market and Combs.

The food bank currently needs sugar, UHT milk, tinned vegetables, coffee and instant mash.

To find out more about the project, call 01449 77400.

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