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Leek foodbanks celebrates its first year

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: June 21, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

Bob Eaton and Ian Smith in the foodbank stock room

Bob Eaton and Ian Smith in the foodbank stock room

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LEEK and District Foodbank has celebrated it first birthday.

Since opening last June the foodbank has provided food for 1345 people, which includes 830 adults and 515 children.

During this time organisers have supplied 12,105 meals to people in need.

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

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Bob Eaton, media and supermarket co-ordinator for the foodbank, said: "Since opening in June 2013 we have seen many changes to ensure that what we do is the most beneficial way to meet the needs of those who have to use us.

"The trustees would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who have worked tirelessly over the last twelve months; the volunteers who work not only in the foodbank but also at the supermarket collections and on other duties.

"Thanks also to all the churches who collect weekly to ensure we have enough food to meet the growing need. We also have many private donations as almost 50 per cent of food received come from local people who wish to remain anonymous, but who also deserve a big thank you.

"Our local supermarkets who allow us to collect at their stores also deserve recognition so a big thank you to Asda, Sainsburys, Morrisons and Tesco (Meir); we hope to have our new Waitrose store helping us soon."

The foodbank has had almost 20 tonnes of food donated and have given out 16½ tonnes of food to those in need.

Mr Eaton added: "At the moment we are giving out slightly more food than we are receiving. Over the last year the people of Leek and surrounding area have donated food tremendously and we are aware that financially most of us are having to tighten our belts, but, we do ask that as we enter our second year people will continue with their generous support.

"If you would like any information regarding the foodbank please come along and see us in the park for the Country and Western event on Saturday, June 21."

The foodbank co-ordinator, Ian Smith, said before starting the service research to access local need took place over several months which concluded it was required.

He said: "Every foodbank recipient is referred to us by a front line care professional such as a doctor, social worker or schools liaison officer. We also try to help people out of crisis long-term by working with them to find ways to address the underlying cause of the problem.

"We live in the seventh richest country in the world but evidence shows that local foodbanks offer a vital lifeline to those who find themselves in food poverty situations.

"It is fair to say that all of us involved with the food bank are surprised at the ever increasing call that has been on our resources over the past year, and it is also fair to say, that through the untiring efforts of our volunteers and through the unfailing generosity of our donors of food we have always managed to meet the needs of those in crisis.

"Long may it continue into the coming year as we look forward to being able to help people who find themselves in crisis situations."

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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