Food crisis: North East calls for more donations in time for Christmas
Written by Godstime David on 7th December 2022
Food Banks in the North East have appealed for assistance and support from the public in the run-up to Christmas.
This comes as the cost-of-living crisis causes donations to fall and demand to rise.
The food banks revealed that partnerships and donations are down while the demand for assistance is up as energy prices and inflation continue to rise.
Tracy Beeton, founder of Bede’s Helping Hand food bank, Jarrow, said: “We have more people coming through, and donations are coming down to be honest.”
The 53-year-old said the bank originally received weekly donations from supermarkets but has now reduced to every two weeks.
“I’m afraid things might get worse if we don’t get enough support from our community.
“Our worry is getting to a point where we can not keep our doors open,” she said.
Beeton added that they give out hampers every year but are yet to have complete items to fill a pack.
Angie Comerford, co-founder of Hebburn Helps, who is also affected by the cost of the living crisis, said donations and partnerships are not coming in as much as they did the previous year as the demand has tripled.
The Hebburn Helps co-founder said currently the charity only has local shops and very few supermarkets drop in items, adding:
“This shortage no longer affects low-income earners, but people on benefits and the middle class.
“This puts us under pressure to cater to more people given we cannot turn them back without food.”
Calling for donations, Angie Comerford said they will appreciate meats in tins, noodles, and generally non-perishable items to be handed out.
She added that more than 200 children are to be catered for over this Christmas season, and so donations that will help give children a memorable Christmas, such as gifts, are in more demand from the charity.
Meanwhile, Joe Strase, 29, said some items are going down a lot quicker on the shelves than expected.
“At this point, we will take anything edible, no matter how little.
“This is affecting people who once supported us coming to us for help,” he said.
The information development lead at the FoodBay Bank, North Tyneside, said they spend £12,000 monthly to stock up and will also appreciate cash donations to cover all locations.
The 29-year-old also said they have 11,000 clients on record, and at least 20% are in employment of some kind.
“To fulfill a parcel cost us £24, and each can contain up to £120 retail value for a large family.
“Next financial year will cost us nearly £200,000 to keep the food bank running”, he said.
Strase added that the charity had maintained 46,000 emergency food parcels since 2012.
“We are fortunate to have little donations come in, some charities don’t”.
Meanwhile, the community manager at Salvation Army, Graham Morton, said it is too early to tell what the festive season will look like.
Adding that agencies and volunteers from different companies are contacting them to see what they need.
“Trailers are bringing in supplies from Aldi, Lidl, and Morrisons. We are expecting more.
“Demands are increasing so donations can never be enough,” he said.
“We are also working on a ‘campaign for kids’ which will involve a lot of toys for children.
“To date, we already have received requests for gifts from more than 400 children.
A few companies are coming to volunteer on-site to prepare the gifts to go out. Requests will come from support workers across the city.”