Charity needs help to find permanent home
2:31pm Monday 3rd September 2012 in News
A CHARITY which offers a vital lifeline to Thurrock families most in-need is appealing for help in finding a permanent premises.
Thurrock Foodbank, an organisation run entirely by volunteers and part of a larger network overseen by the Trussell Trust, collects food donations and re-distributes it for free to people who are earmarked by local charities as needing the support.
Led by project manager Victoria Windus, the group stand outside supermarkets and ask shoppers to buy and then donate a selection of products, including canned goods, tea bags, longlife milk.
The products are then sorted into boxes providing crisis-hit families, couples or single people three days worth of food.
Demand for the Foodbank, which has only been fully operational for a month or so is already growing.
Organisations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and Family Mosaic are already handing out Foodbank vouchers, which are swapped for food boxes at dristribution centres across the borough, with many more organisations registering an interest.
Around one in five Thurrock residents are classed as being in poverty according to a Child Poverty Needs Analysis published by the council last year.
In the Tilbury Riverside and Tilbury St Chads wards, child poverty is thought to effect one in three.
Victoria is expecting demand for the Foodbank to increase dramatically over the next month or so. Currently, the Foodbank are handing out six boxes per week at their three distribution centres in Purfleet, Corringham and Tilbury.
That could rise to 20 per week, hence the Foodbank’s appeal for a permanent warehouse. Currently, food is sorted and packed at a church hall in Stanford-Le-Hope, but the organisation can only be there for another month.
Victoria told the Gazette: “We’re looking for a permanent storage place to store and pack food.
“Ideally what we want is somewhere vacant, that is rent-free, and likely to stay vacant in the current economic climate. We want somewhere we can stay for a couple of years and establish ourselves.
“It also needs to have a large open space!”
The bank are exploring various options with the council, but Victoria says that if the Foodbank is to be as effective as it can be, then a suitable storage place needs to be found.
“If we can’t find somewhere then there would be other options, like Big Yellow Storage, but we’re looking for somewhere that’s low cost so we can spend the money on other things for the charity.”
She added: “It’s sad to think that people in Thurrock need the Foodbank, but they do and we want to do something about it.”