Churches unite to set up food bank for needy

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

A NEW food bank to help people in need in Basingstoke is set to open in October.

Members of various churches in the town have been working together to co-ordinate the project after the Food Aid 4 U initiative folded last year.

The charity gave out food to people assisted by organisations including the probation service, housing associations and Basingstoke Women’s Refuge, from the YMCA in Eastrop Way. But the project ended because the YMCA no longer had space for it to run there.

Now, churches in Basingstoke have worked with the Trussell Trust, which has helped set up hundreds of other food banks across the country, to open one again in Basingstoke.

The new service will run from Trinity Methodist Church, in Sarum Hill, every Wednesday and Friday between 10.30am and 2.30pm, with the aim of starting in October.

The system will support people in a temporary crisis, for example those who have lost their job and have no money while waiting for benefits.

Vulnerable people using the food bank will be given vouchers to allow them enough food for nine days, which is considered enough time to tide them over. Andy Taylor, community pastor at the Town Centre Community Church, who has helped to co-ordinate the project, said: “We have been aware of the need for this sort of service for quite some time. Had Food Aid 4 U not started up, we might have done something earlier.

“The need for this is great. It’s not just to help homeless people. It’s also for people who may lose their job and have nothing.”

Mr Taylor said that about 100 people had turned up to a volunteer event, and the project has recruited in the region of 70 to help collect food donations and give out the parcels.

Volunteers will be collecting food from September, with the hope that schools will offer their Harvest Festival donations.

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