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Can you house new food-help charity?
7:30am Saturday 15th September 2012 in News
A CHARITY which offers a vital lifeline to Thurrock families 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 support.
Led by project manager Victoria Windus, the group stands outside supermarkets and asks shoppers to buy and then donate a selection of products, including canned goods, tea bags and 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 couple of months, 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 distribution centres across the borough.
One in five Thurrock residents are classed as being in poverty according to a Child Poverty Needs Analysis. 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, Foodbank is handing out six boxes per week at its three distribution centres in Purfleet, Corringham and Tilbury.
That could rise to 20 per week, hence the appeal for a permanent warehouse.
At the moment, food is sorted and packed at a church hall in Stanford-le-Hope, but the organisation can only be there for another month or so.
Victoria told the Gazette: “Ideally what we want is somewhere vacant, 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 is exploring various options with the council, but Victoria says 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 people in Thurrock need the Foodbank, but they do and we want to do something about it.”
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