Reliance on food banks grows
A SLEAFORD food bank claims a 'dramatic increase' in families finding themselves at crisis point is set to continue as it appeals for donations.
Sleaford's New Life Community Larder is an independent food bank, started in 2008 by Rod and Alice Munro with the support of local churches and schools.
So far this year it has seen a 90 per cent increase on last year in the number of people it has helped with 950 adults and children seeking emergency supplies of food.
And the charity says it expects the increase to continue as poorer families struggle to cope in the wake of welfare reforms.
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Rod, said: "We know that there are families and individuals out there who are already stretched and it only takes one thing to tip them into crisis.
"No one wants to see children go to bed hungry in this day and age, but that is what is happening. We are not talking here about a developing country. This is right on our doorstep, affecting ordinary people in and around our local community.
"People assume a lot of things about food banks but they are there to provide short-term help to those who need them. For example, if someone loses their job and faces a period of time before they receive benefits or who cannot work due to sickness and has no money coming in.
"We do not aim to make people dependent on the food we can provide, therefore we will also spend some time listening and signpost people to the appropriate service for long-term help."
The food bank aims to give three days' supply of food to help a family or individual during a crisis and receives referrals from agencies such as social services and the Citizens Advice Bureau.
Food donations are being sought for the Sleaford's New Life Community Larder which is expecting to provide more than 9,000 meals to the people of Sleaford and North Kesteven in 2013.
Annie said: "We are seeing more people experiencing food poverty, and the current austerity measures means that people have fewer options than in the past. Life is very tough for some and is getting tougher all the time.
"Since April, many people referred to us report that they are struggling to live on the money they have and it is getting worse due to the changes in the welfare system.
"We don't want people to think families who use a food bank are scroungers. Some people are living on such a small amount of money and it is not just those on benefits. Families on low wages are also really feeling the pinch."
The food bank is appealing for the support of local supermarkets, food manufacturers and individuals to help it meet the growing need.
Financial donations can be sent to the New Life Centre on Mareham Lane to help purchase additional items like nappies, baby milk, baby food and toilet rolls which are also in great demand.
Just last week, students from St George's Academy in Ruskington, held a non-uniform day to collect tins for the larder.
Call 07912 746512 or visit www.communitylarder.co.uk