Foodbank makes urgent plea over hundreds of empty crates

Waveney Foodbank operations manager Matthew Scade is appealing for donations over fears it could run

Waveney Foodbank operations manager Matthew Scade is appealing for donations over fears it could run out of stock. Picture: Simon Parkin - Credit: Simon Parkin

A foodbank covering an area of Norfolk and Suffolk equivalent to the size of Greater Manchester has issued an urgent appeal for help.

Waveney Foodbank has pleaded for donations of ambient food products - items that are sealed and can be stored at room temperature - after unprecedented recent demand.

It comes as families battle huge increases in the cost of living which have prompted this newspaper to launch its 'Your Money Matters' campaign, to help communities through the crisis.

In a post on Facebook, a spokesperson for the Waveney Foodbank said: "Due to an unprecedented demand in our services, we currently have over 350 empty crates.

"Unfortunately, they should be filled with food.

"Can you help us fill them up?

"We urgently need any ambient food products. If it's in a can, packet or box, we need it."

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The items most in need currently are tinned tomatoes, milk, tea bags, rice pudding and fruit.

The foodbank reported a drop in donations of around 40pc in March, as food and energy prices rose. At same time, more and more people are coming to rely on its services.

Earlier this month, it said demand had increased due to the withdrawal of school meal vouchers in Norfolk over the Easter holidays.

The foodbank also revealed how demand on its service had soared in the past six years.

Figures from 2015-16 show 2,200 people were fed, with 24,000kg of food donated and all but 2,000kg given out.

In the first three months of 2022, Waveney Foodbank fed 3,700 people, with 18,999kg of food donated and 26,479kg of food handed out.

It cost £44,000 to keep the foodbank running in 2020-21, and it now covers more than 1,425sq km of Norfolk and Suffolk, an area larger than Greater Manchester.

The foodbank has 11 distribution centres, including in Beccles, Bungay, Halesworth, Harleston, Diss, Long Stratton, Poringland, Framlingham and Stradbroke.

More than 100 agencies are now issuing vouchers for the foodbank, which has 225 volunteers. 

Donations can be left at local supermarkets and churches.