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Preston food bank reveals it needs 8,000 items a month to meet demand

Posted on - 6th March, 2014 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Charities, Friargate, News, University

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Preston’s Salvation army, home to ‘Preston Central Scouts’ and many other facilities, has one of the biggest food banks in the City. But still isn’t able to supply food all year round.

Whilst the Salvation Army has been supplying food banks for over 150 years, Preston’s food bank arrived 8 years ago when a group of Christian Churches came together and formed the Preston Christian Action Network, which then put together the food bank.

According to The Trussel Trust, last year’s food banks handed out nearly 350,000 food parcels, a staggering increase of 170% of the amount given out in the year previously.

This puts a huge demand on charities and their volunteers, As Preston’s Salvation Army Captain, Alex Cadogan explained.

“The food bank receives donations from members of the community, shops and organisations.”

“It’s down to them; it’s the volunteers who are the greatest resource”.

“We operate on a referral system. People need to get refereed from an agency that is working with them that is able to assess their situation to see if they are in actual need or not, then they send that person to us”.

“Demand recently has led to us receiving over 3-400 referrals a month, families obviously are in a greater supply for more food than an individual. We currently need 7-8000 items per month in order to sustain the referrals”.

Sadly, the food bank doesn’t always reach these targets, during December 2013, the demand on the food banks rose quite suddenly and supplies were wiped out.

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“It’s surprisingly very, very hard in the summer months, traditionally; we find a bigger demand off families during these months. Children aren’t getting free school meals at school, family budgets are pushed to their limits and that’s when we get the demand”.

The parcels consist of mainly staple foods. For example; a food parcel for an individual can normally contain.

Potatoes

Spaghetti

2X Tin of Soup

Fish

Meat

2 X Vegetables

Tomatoes

Custard/Rice Puddings

Fruit

500g Pasta/rice

Noodles/Pasta Sauce

Jar of Sauce

Beans

An extra parcel can be given, made up of;

40 Tea Bags (foil Wrapped)

Biscuits/Crackers/Chocolates

2X Small Cereal

Packet Soups

Family food parcels contain all of the above and;

Box of loose tea bags

2/3 packets of Coffee

Sugar

Bag of Cereal

Biscuits

Crackers/Cheese Biscuits

1kg Pasta or Rice

Jar Sauce

Jam/Marmalade

Meat Pie/Large Tin of Meat

Pasta Sauces etc

Chocolates

2 Beans/ Cup of Soup

Carton of Milk

Fruit + Rice pudding/Custard

Small amount of baby food (If donated)

This is an ideal food parcel when the food bank is at a healthy weight.

“No one ends up with half a dozen tins of prunes. We try to give people a parcel of food that contains enough in it for a few meals. It won’t be an entire weeks shopping list, but it will be nutritionally sustainable for a few days.

The Salvation Army have numerous volunteers that all contribute differently to the centre. There are a dozen volunteers that specifically come in to help pack and prepare the food parcels.

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Speaking to one of the Volunteers, Graham Steele, he said “I feel that, by being Christian, I need to do more than just go to church, I come here and help others. I’m a trained chef, I love cooking and I love helping people”.

“It’s a great feeling; we get compliments every week, not just I but the whole team. It’s not about individuals”.

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Captain Alex said, “The vast majority of people are grateful. Sadly there are a few but they are a minority. It takes quite a lot to walk through those doors and say “I can’t feed myself”.

“What we try to do is we try to make it as pleasant experience as possible. We invite people in give them tea/coffee and befriend them, it’s an incredibly hard thing to do, if you’ve been working and things go wrong and suddenly be put in that position it can be hard. People feel embarrassed and ashamed”.

The Salvation Army is always looking for donations of any kind, from food, financial aid, to helping packing and preparing food. If you wish to make a donation please report to;

Harrington Street, Moor Lane, PR1 7BN

Full time Office (ministers)

Alex and Maggie Cadogan

(01772) 555425

[email protected]

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