Praise for foodbanks as MEP joins collectors at Sheringham
- Credit: Archant
Foodbanks which are putting meals on the tables of hard hit families are gearing up to add some festive treats too.
The volunteer-run depots provide help all year round, and have seen a rising tide of people seeking their services including in north Norfolk, where the number of outlets has rocketed from one to five over the past year.
Now they are looking for people to add festive eating treats and non-food gifts to add a bit of Christmas sparkle to the parcels handed out.
Euro MP Richard Howitt joined collectors at Tesco in Sheringham yesterday, as part of a nationwide campaign by the company to support foodbanks.
He praised the generosity of people giving donations, and the hard work of the volunteers.
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But he also took a swipe at the government for choosing not to use the UK's £22m share of a European foodbank support fund he had campaigned for.
The foodbanks asked for the help, and would use the fund to help with one-off grants towards set-up, transport and storage costs, but Mr Howitt claimed the Conservatives were rejecting it for anti-European 'ideological reasons' and he was seeking to shame them into a u-turn.
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He said the growing demand on foodbanks - which had doubled in the east of England - was fuelled by benefits delays and low income.
There were 500,000 people in Britain relying on food aid.
'Foodbanks are an inspiring piece of social action to help people in desperate need,' he added.
The Cromer foodbank has now added centres at Sheringham, North Walsham, Aylsham and Holt.
Trustee Michael McMahon said that by Christmas it would have helped its 2,000th person. People in need are given vouchers by are professionals from housing, health and education services, and can redeem them for three days worth of food.
Most of the food was collected by local churches, but in the run-up to Christmas people were being reminded they could deliver to the town depots.
Tescos are also collecting points this weekend.
Donors are being encouraged to add festive items such as tinned ham and turkey, Christmas pudding and cake, chocolate and biscuits, as well as staple foods.
But families struggling to put food on the table were also glad of non-food treats such as razors, toothbrushes, baby wipes and deodorant.
For information about the north Norfolk foodbanks visit www.cromerdistrict.foodbank.org.uk or call 07826 376343.
The EDP is running a campaign next month to support the work of Foodbanks in the region. We will be looking in depth at the work of the projects and urging our generous readers to get involved to support those in need in the run-up to Christmas.