Food bank manager Saroush Sadeghzadeh and volunteers at Middlesbrough food bank
Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger has issued an urgent appeal for people to support their local food bank.
Food banks have reported an increase in demand compared with last year and the situation has been further exacerbated with Covid-19, leading to many other families needing help to put food on the table.
Mr Coppinger said: “Part of my role as Police and Crime Commissioner is to ensure protection for the most vulnerable in society and I am aware that the current Covid-19 situation has seen more and more fall into that category.
“People will have a lot on their minds at present however I would urge them to continue to support food banks if they are able to.”
A nationwide network of food banks, supported by The Trussell Trust, aim to combat poverty and hunger across the UK by providing three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people who are referred to them in crisis.
The network includes food bank depots in Middlesbrough, Redcar, Hartlepool and Billingham.
Middlesbrough Food Bank Project manager Saroush Sadeghzadeh said the charity has enough volunteers to operate, but was struggling to meet the demand for food parcels.
“Last year we provided over 8,000 food parcels and one third of them were for children. This was a 20% increase in demand up to March” he said.
“Covid-19 has now seen a further increase. That’s for a combination of reasons, including people losing their jobs, delays in payments coming through and also families having to find extra food as children are now at home all day.”
Mr Sadeghzadeh said they welcome donations of any in date, non-perishable food and in particular tins of tomatoes, potatoes and meat.
Due to Covid-19, Middlesbrough food bank has had to reduce the opening hours of its hubs and collection points, however the public can still bring donations to the main depot at Wear Court, Wallis Road, Skippers Lane Industrial Estate between 9.30am-2pm on Monday and Tuesday.
In addition to the donations of food, pet food and toiletries are also important.
Financial support is also needed to run the food bank depot and to keep the van on the road delivering food to distribution centres.
Details of other food banks in the Cleveland area can be found at www.trusselltrust.org
We would like to take the opportunity to highlight other food relief efforts taking place across Cleveland. Please see these listed below.
Middlesbrough Sikh temple are providing packed lunches for staff at James Cook Hospital ( about a 100 meals a day) and also there is a COVID-19 Teesside Muslim Community COVID-19 Response WhatsApp group, which are also providing food banks for vulnerable communities.
Volunteers serve a cooked breakfast to people feeling the credit crunch and provide information or signpost to relevant agencies to help the diners. They also try to provide clothing and arrange organisations, such as the Fire Brigade to give advice on how to keep safe.
For more information contact Parkfield Pantry on 01642 874569.
A directory has been produced giving details of organisations that can provide emergency food assistance to people in Stockton Borough. The Emergency Food Aid Information Directory is based on information supplied by organisations and indicates the type of assistance available, where and when the assistance is available and if any referral is required to access the service.
Posted on Thursday 16th April 2020