'We have more families coming to us who are absolutely desperate'  - all 35 food banks in Wakefield need your help

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Food bank support has declined over the past eight months but the need for their service has increased.

That’s according to Community Foundation Wakefield, which has started a new fundraising drive to help the district’s 35 food banks put food on people’s plates.

Lisa Grant, the manager of St Catherine’s Church food bank in Wakefield, said it had been a tough time for people in need.

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She said: “Demand has definitely increased. We are seeing a lot of families who have been made redundant or on furlough so have seen a dip in income.

Lisa Grant and Dave Clarkson at St Catherine'sLisa Grant and Dave Clarkson at St Catherine's
Lisa Grant and Dave Clarkson at St Catherine's

“For most of our clients it is crucial that they get to the food bank because they have no means of buying food after the bills are paid – they are flat broke.

“We have more families coming to us who are absolutely desperate.

“Some of the kids just wouldn’t eat without getting help.”

She said people who would often donate have been going into to shops less and people in general are being more careful with money.

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She said: “Everyone is worried about different things but food banks are not going away.

“I would love to see the day they all shut down because there was no need for them but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.”

Wakefield BID is working with Community Foundation Wakefield and Investors in Community on the project.

Business manager Dave Clarkson said: “The Investors in Community platform is the most effective way of connecting organisations, individuals, charities, and community groups to show that by working together powerful and evidenced social impact can be created.

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“As food banks have grown it is noted that the shelves have become half empty, food donations have declined over the past eight months.

“It’s not only food donations and volunteering that is required, but there is also the financial cost of running these services.

“This is the campaign we wish to highlight, and monetary donations are needed to keep each of these services running right throughout the year.”

The past 18 months of pandemic meant food banks had to face new challenges.

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The national lockdown over the winter in particular brought little respite for food banks.

Volunteers had to learn new ways to distribute food to meet social distancing guidelines while continuing to rely of the public’s kindness to keep their shelves stocked.

Food banks reported record numbers of people needing help throughout 2020.

The Trussell Trust, which supports a network of food banks around the county, said 2,600 emergency food parcels were provided for children every day on average by its food banks during the first six months of the pandemic alone.

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And there were countless example of citizens taking matters into their own hands to help others.

Wakefield teenager Megan Rodd launched her own food bank and supported hundreds of people every week since the start of the first lockdown.

Schools held collections for food banks and people stepped up to deliver vital supplies.

Figures from the Wakefield Joint Strategic Needs Assessment paint a picture of the extent of poverty in the Wakefield district

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According to the report 8,190 children aged 0-15 years in Wakefield are estimated as living in neighbourhoods that are amongst the top 10 per cent most deprived in England.

This is 13 per cent of the district’s population in this age group.

The JSNA assesses the health and wellbeing needs of the district.

Wakefield Council, the Public Health Intelligence Team, and the Corporate Intelligence team update its website.

Search Investors in Community Wakefield food banks for a page where you can donate.