MORE than 60 people have already come forward to help run a town’s planned food bank.
The Post & Times reported last month that the facility is set to open in Leek in May to help families unable to afford day-to-day provisions.
It is estimated that there are scores of families in the area unable to buy the food they need, although it is believed thousands more people could be eligible.
The facility, which will serve Leek and district, comes ahead of wide-ranging changes to unemployment and lowpay benefits, including cuts to council tax benefits.
The food bank will operate out of Leek Pentecostal Church in West Street on Tuesdays and Fridays. A satellite unit will also operate from St Paul’s in Novi Lane on Fridays.
The food bank is being set up by churches in Leek and Cheddleton in conjunction with the Trussell Trust, which works with churches and communities to open new food banks.
Ian Smith, Elder and treasurer at Leek Pentecostal Church, said: “We have had a brilliant response from people.
“More than 60 people have already come forward to volunteer their help with the project.
“Also an anonymous donor has donated a set of electronic scales.
“A meeting is the take place with the Trussell Trust to put the final touches to the project this Friday.
“Some businesses have also offered support and individual donations have been received.” He added: “People will pick up the food from the rear car park entrance at Leek Pentecostal Church.
“A hospitality room is being provided while people’s food allocations are being prepared.
“The food parcels will be packed by volunteers in another, specially adapted room in the church.”
The post and times reported in February that social services estimated that up to 70 families in the area are in need.
However, the churches say there could be up to 4,000 people in Leek in need.
Liz Green, of Cheddleton, said she had also received a good response to the project from the people in the village.
She said: “A number of councillors have made donations from their council initiative fund to the food bank.
“This project is Leek Churches Together working as a team. We are very pleased with the response we have received.”
Last week Leek North district councillor Charlotte Atkins donated £140 to the food bank, which is half of her initiative fund allowance.
Ms Atkins said: “I was anxious to give it to the food banks. as from April many families will be hit by the bedroom tax and other benefit cuts.
“Also, as well as the future cuts, food and petrol are going up. People on the breadline will not have enough to feed their family.
“It is fantastic to see the large number of people coming forward to help this marvellous project.”
People will get vouchers for the food from social services, doctors or other professional bodies. They will then pick up three days worth of food on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Volunteers are still asked to come forward and if you could spare a little time please call Mr Smith on 01538 399481