A foodbank in Sussex marking its seventh anniversary today (April 17) says it’s now giving out over a tonne of food a week.
Hastings Foodbank has reported that a quarter of the food they have given out since opening has been received in the last year alone.
It has distributed 279 tonnes of food during that time, almost 40% of which has gone to local children facing poverty, according to the charity.
The foodbank reports a 113% increase in referrals since Universal Credit came to the town in December 2016.
With the increase in figures, Hastings Foodbank said it was ‘commiserating rather than celebrating’ its anniversary this year.
It was opened by King’s Church on April 17, 2012 with support from other churches in the town.
Foodbank manager Jon Wales said:
“The number of people being referred to us has risen dramatically over the last two years in particular: we are seeing more people who are on low incomes, and lots of people who are struggling with the five-week wait for Universal Credit.
“Anyone can find themselves needing to use the foodbank.
“We see many people who say they never imagined they would need us.
“But we also see lots of people we help come back to us to donate food.
“We’re grateful to everyone who donates to us.
“It really makes a massive difference to people facing crisis situations.”
As part of the seven-year anniversary, supporters have been invited to offer ‘7 Days of Support’, taking part in various activities over the course of a week:
- Donate seven tasty tins – tinned meat, fish, veg, fruit, potatoes, rice pudding, custard
- Sign up to the Trussell Trust foodbank network’s #5weekstoolong campaign online
- Donate a drink – teabags, coffee, long-life milk or juice
- Raise awareness on social media
- Donate a treat – such as chocolate or biscuits
- Encourage/thank a volunteer
- Plan to regularly support Hastings Foodbank
Natalie Williams, who oversees community engagement for King’s Church said:
“Usually anniversaries are something we celebrate, but we certainly won’t be eating any cake or popping open champagne in Hastings.
“The fact that our foodbank opened seven years ago today upsets us.
“We wish we had never been needed.
“It’s shocking that we were, and it’s shocking that we still are.
“If we were blowing out candles today, we’d be wishing for a time when we could close our doors because no one needs our help any more.”
Items can be donated via the Hastings Foodbank baskets at King’s Church (Hastings Centre).
Or local branches of Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Nationwide and NatWest, as well as at Hastings Town Hall and the Tourist Information Centre.