Cromer Foodbank could expand to reach needy in Sheringham, Holt and north Norfolk villages
Volunteers are hoping that their scheme to feed Cromer residents in times of crisis could reach out to other north Norfolk towns and villages after more than 100 people turned up to a launch meeting.
It was standing room only at the meeting under the tower of Cromer's parish church as the Cromer and District Foodbank was launched on Tuesday March 27.
The organisers were overwhelmed at the turnout, and said they hoped that the foodbank would begin to hand out parcels to the needy in time for September and the harvest festival season.
After the gathering, scores of people signed up as potential volunteers, expressing an interesting in helping with supermarket collections, arranging and packing food parcels and administration.
At the meeting, the audience heard from Hannah Reed from the Salisbury-based Trussell Trust, which is supporting Cromer and District Foodbank and which has helped to establish almost 200 foodbanks in the UK since 2004.
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She said foodbanks supported those with no financial safety net, who were left struggling to feed themselves after being hit by a sudden crisis such as bereavement, benefit delay, redundancy or illness.
The facility provided 'nutritionally-balanced' food parcels for three days, to tide people over until local care agencies were able to step in.
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Cromer and District Foodbank chairman Tina Nicholas said: 'We've done our research. We've also contacted some of the local frontline care agencies and from every one of them we've heard that they are sure there's a need in this area.
'Five of us are in the process of becoming directors of a limited company which will become a charity. We are also negotiating about premises to use as a warehouse to store the food, but we cannot say any more about that at the moment.'
She added: 'We came here tonight with a list of key people we would need as volunteers. We've now got a treasurer, but we need to build the bank of volunteers.
'We need people with skills including bookkeeping, administration, distribution, warehouse management, website design and fundraising. We also need people who are willing to give a few hours for collecting and sorting the food.'
The Cromer and District Foodbank team is drawn from various Christian church denominations in the town, but the group is keen to work with people of all faiths or none as the work expands.
Food bank volunteers collect donations of non-perishable items, such as pasta, tins and cereals, and package them into boxes. Supermarket collections will also be held, where shoppers will be asked for donations by adding an extra item to their basket or trolley.
Boxes are then handed to people who have been referred to the scheme by care professionals, such as health visitors, social services or Citizens Advice Bureaux. Volunteers will also offer companionship, moral support, advice and prayer to those in need during distribution sessions.
? If you can help, call Mrs Nicholas on 01263 514036 or email email@example.com.