Coronavirus: Working to keep our centres open

4th May 2020

Newcastle-Staffs Foodbank is helping to feed hundreds of people by keeping its six centres open throughout the lockdown.

While a significant proportion of volunteers are self-isolating, the foodbank has brought in a pre-packed food parcel system to ensure it can continue to open across Newcastle brorough and meet the needs of the community.

Newcastle-Staffs Foodbank was created in 2012 and is run in partnership with Churches Together in Newcastle and other organisations.

It aims to bring people together to offer hope and restore dignity to those suffering hunger and poverty.

Last year it supported more than 5,100 people, with support agencies working in the community issuing vouchers on behalf of the foodbank. These are then exchanged for three days worth of food at its volunteer-run centres.

With a team of about 100 volunteers, the foodbank works to try and help clients identify the cause of their crisis and find a pathway out of hardship.

The lockdown has meant many volunteers must self-isolate. However the foodbank has incorporated social distancing measures at its centres so it can carry on its work, albeit with a reduced team, at this time.

Jane Baker, trustee and secretary, said: “We are understandably seeing a significant increase in foodbank use at this time as families struggle with issues such as ill health, redundancy, no access to free school meals, and reduced income from furlough leave.

“While we are having to work in a very different way at the moment, we felt it was crucial we kept our service running and our centres open.

“Our volunteers have been fantastic, taking on additional responsibilities and keeping all of our centres safe places to visit and work.

“And we know it has been very hard for those self-isolating at the moment as well, as they desperately want to help those in their community.

“But they have been drumming up support for us in other ways, with a recent appeal for donations. We want to thank everyone who has helped and contributed to Newcastle-Staffs Foodbank over the last few weeks as it all makes a huge difference to hundreds of lives.”

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