Food Bank meets increased demand

Rob Gee. Daventry Food Bank, High March, Daventry.
Rob Gee. Daventry Food Bank, High March, Daventry.

The number of people being sent to Daventry Food Bank in the final part of 2013 has doubled, say those who run it.

In the final quarter of the year the number of referrals to the food bank, run by the Vineyard Church, rose to 60 a month. That compares to 30 a month one year ago.

Manager, Barry Preece, said: “We usually see an increase in numbers of families coming to us during school holidays, and we think that’s down to people who would normally get free school dinners having to buy and cook those meals in the holidays. But in the run-up to this Christmas we were busier than just that.

“We also had three emergency calls over the festive period. One was from someone whose Employment and Support Allowance had been stopped because he missed a meeting he said he was never informed about. Another had their wallet stolen with all their cash. The third was referred by a social worker.

“We also distributed 64 festive parcels, and because we had lots of toiletries we distributed them to local care homes and Danetre Hospital.”

Rob Gee said: “It’s hard to say if the increase is down to any one reason.

“One thing we’ve picked up on is now some people are getting their benefits monthly rather than fortnightly.

“There are some people we’re seeing who have never had to budget over that length of time and who have never been taught to do it. That’s one thing we’ll be looking at this year, trying to train up some of us as ‘budgeteers’ to help those who seem to be regularly facing problems with money.

“We have had a fantastic response from donors though. Tesco at DIRFT provide about 70 or 80 per cent. We get people pulling up outside with bags and bags of donations. We even had someone spend part of their winter fuel allowance on food.

“We want to thank every person and organisation that donated throughout the year.”