Rise in families turning to Bridport food bank for help to survive (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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Rise in families turning to Bridport food bank for help to survive
A RISING number of families are turning to a Bridport food bank as they struggle to afford to eat.
The Rev Andrew Evans’ Cupboard Love appeal was launched 18 months ago to give practical help to the homeless and struggling families.
But he is now warning that it is needed more than ever after a surge in applications for help over Christmas and as the new year begins – with up to 80 families in need of help.
Rev Evans, the rector of Bridport, said: “We have been helping people right through the year but the need is growing. There is a real need.”
He said that thanks were due to all who have donated items but that it is needed throughout the year.
Rev Evans, of St Mary’s Church, said: “ We are still getting anonymous donations through the door some for as much as £100.”
In partnership with Waitrose, volunteers spent two weekends outside the store and collected 15 tubs of food to give away.
Through the local Munch Club, schools and a network of people in the church between 70 and 80 families struggling to survive have been identified and given food parcels.
Rev Evans said: “The numbers have been increasing recently.
“It is not so much the folks out of work on benefits who need help.
“It is the people working on minimum wage who are struggling with the increase in price of food, petrol and heating.
“They are being squeezed tight.”
Every effort was made to do the giving discreetly, he said.
He said: “There should not be any stigma.
“Everybody hits hard times in their life occasionally and we are here to help.”
During the year the homeless turning up at the church have also been given tents, sleeping bags, food, shoes and clothing.
There have been around 25 ‘doorstep callers’ helped during the year said the Rev Evans.
He said that although the informal network that alerts Cupboard Love to people in need works well, it was always possible to telephone the church office on 01308 424747 or come into church to ask for help.
FEWER DONATIONS AS RESIDENTS FEEL THE PINCH
CAPTAIN Ray Slater from the Salvation Army in West Dorset, pictured above, said the number of families in need – even for basic food – was increasing.
He said: “We are taking about the basics: food.
“We have seen an increase of need and it has been like that for the last year, even longer, both decreased donations and increased need.”
The Salvation Army’s primary fundraising is through its charity shops but people are just hanging on to things longer, he said.
He added: “Nobody is giving up their old sofa now until they have to. So when we talk about decreasing donations there are lots of reasons for it.
“I don’t want to appear to be saying that people are less generous because I don’t think that’s true.
“The pinch is hitting everybody and cascading down.”
He said the Salvation Army worked closely with housing associations and often found people were in need after the associations sent in liaison officers because the rent was not being paid.
He added: “If someone is not paying their rent the associations send someone in to find out why. They discover they are not only not paying the rent they don't have any food either.
“Our ability to engage with the social needs of the area is directly related to the generosity of people here.”