Hastings foodbank to offer help in times of crisis

Hastings foodbank volunteers at the Hastings Centre
Hastings foodbank volunteers at the Hastings Centre

A NEW service offering emergency food parcels in times of crisis is to launch in Hastings next month.

The Hastings foodbank, to open on April 17, has been set up by Kings Church Hastings in association with The Trussell Trust charity, and is the latest in a network of foodbanks across the country.

Natalie Williams, Kings Church Hastings community group project leader, said: “There are a group of people in the church that have been asking what contribution can we make in our town, in a recession.

She explained that the service was for those experiencing a short-term crisis.

“We want to fill that gap and make sure people are not going hungry, as it takes a while for any support to kick in,” she said.

Initially the plan is for it to be open twice a week, supplying those with foodbank vouchers a parcel of food which should last a minimum of three days.

The foodbank vouchers will be distributed by Hastings Borough Council’s Housing Services and will need to be presented on arrival at the foodbank to claim a parcel.

The foodbank will be run by a team of around 30 volunteers and rely on donations from the community of non-perishable food items. St Helen’s Church and the local Quakers will also be supporting the Hastings foodbank.

Natalie said: “There is a set shopping list of items, it is not the case of donating out of date food, or damaged food.

“We want people to have dignity, and decent food, because it can be quite an embarrassing experience.”

She added: “Over 5,000 children are living in poverty in Hastings and St Leonards, and obviously in times of recession things are just getting worse.”

In 2011 the Trussell Trust opened a new UK foodbank on average every four days, and there are now 170 nationwide.

The recipients of food parcels are not usually homeless people, but those on low incomes who have been made redundant or are experiencing benefit delays.

Paul Mann, senior leader at King’s Church Hastings, said: “No one should have to make a decision to go without food so that they can feed their children, or to go without heating so they can eat.

“We hope the Hastings Foodbank will help many, many local people who find themselves in a crisis.”

Anyone who would like to donate items or get involved can email info@hastings.foodbank.org.uk, call 07970 810008, or visit the website at www.hastings.foodbank.org.uk.