HEREFORD Food Bank is down to just a week’s worth of certain items as demand continues to rise.

Since 2015, the number of parcels handed out has increased by around 50 per cent, with benefit issues the reason why most people are referred.

Unlike food banks that are run by the Trussel Trust, Hereford’s has freedom to tailor the parcels to the needs of clients, such as vegetarians, coeliacs and families with small children.

Acting manager Jo Niblett said: “We have a rough idea of people’s circumstances so we know what they need.

“For example, they might not cook if it’s an elderly gentleman on his own so we can tailor his parcel to include items such as pies.

“We have a rough guides of what to include in each parcel. People are kind and bring in monetary donations so we can buy fresh produce like butter, cheese and bread.

“Also, when supermarkets and places like Boots change their packaging on toiletries, they drop the old ones off.”

Other reasons people are referred include homelessness, employment or health-related issues while Ms Niblett said people on zero hours contracts can go weeks without pay.

The charity, founded in 2008, has just moved to a new building in Monkmoor Street which gives them more space to store food donated.

Committed to the relief of poverty in Herefordshire through the provision of emergency food parcels, the food bank relies on a small group of volunteers to pack the parcels.

This will include foods such as pasta, soup and tinned meat as well as toilet roll, razors and sanitary products.

Hereford’s Asda is also supporting the initiative, with funding going towards items which are most needed, as well as providing places for shoppers to donate.

Volunteer June Wynter started at the charity after moving to the area.

She said: “I think it’s really important people are given the opportunity to eat properly and have enough food. It really surprises me in this day and age how many people we’ve got who are starving.

“I probably became involved because of the encouragement to make sure older people have enough to eat.

“It’s great here we can actually give out seven days’ supply, especially with the rural location.”

People wanting to donate can drop food, as well as toiletries at the building on weekdays between 10am to noon and from 1pm to 3pm. Currently tinned vegetables are ‘desperately needed’.


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