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Leek Foodbank visits pass the 1,000 mark

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 31, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

Bob Eaton and Ian Smith in the foodbank store room

Bob Eaton and Ian Smith in the foodbank store room

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THE number of people seeking help from the Leek and District Foodbank has passed the 1,000 mark.

The foodbank, which operates out of Leek Pentecostal Church in West Street, is a joint community venture hosted by Leek and District Churches Together.

The facility first opened its doors on June 18, 2013.

Since then the facility has catered for 410 children and 626 adults.

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Project co-ordinator Ian Smith said the three main areas causing most problems were a delay in benefit payments, low paid jobs and Government changes to the benefit system.

Mr Smith said: "In nine months we have catered for more than a 1,000 people. This is a lot for a town as big as Leek.

"A third of the people we have catered for said they desperately needed help because of delays in benefits, while a quarter said it was due to low paid jobs, and others stated it was because of benefit changes.

"We have had people coming to us in desperate need.

"Many are nervous when they come in and really do not want to be here.

"But many say they did not realise how well they would be treated.

"The supermarkets in the town and also members of the community have been brilliant with their donations of food.

"We now have collection baskets at several locations around the town.

"The project is running very smoothly and on average we are seeing about 25 to 30 people a week."

Media co-ordinator for the foodbank, Bob Eaton, said many people were clearly upset when arriving at the distribution centre.

He said: "People do not want to be here and are in tears.

"We have had people who have gone without food to give some to their children.

"Some we have catered for are living in tents with no heating.

"Another benefit to the foodbank is that we can signpost people to other agencies like housing associations and how to fill in a CV for a job.

"We have had people who we have catered for come back to us with food donations when they have got themselves a job.

"One mother and son have been back to us and said we had saved their lives, which is very rewarding.

"We would like to say a big thank you to the people of Leek and the churches for all their support.

The foodbank is open on Tuesday and Friday each week from 10am to noon for people donating food, and 12.30pm to 2.30pm for people exchanging food vouchers.

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