A TOWN supermarket is supporting Hartlepool’s foodbank for crisis-hit families.
Asda will hold a collection on Saturday when shoppers will be encouraged to donate an item of food that will help make up food handouts.
Foodbank managers in Hartlepool say they have seen a sharp rise in the number of people being referred to them for help since April when a number of major changes to people’s benefits came into effect.
Hartlepool’s Asda on Marina Way is one of 200 stores across the UK taking part in the collection of foodbanks run by the Trussell Trust charity.
Al Wales, Hartlepool Foodbank manager, said: “The people of Hartlepool have been extraordinarily generous so far with just over five tonnes of food collected in the last financial year which has already been distributed to local people in crisis.
“Unfortunately, the need continues to grow and we have seen a steep increase in referrals since April.
“This is due to rising prices, static incomes and high unemployment.
“We want to make sure that no-one in Hartlepool is forced to go hungry but to do this we’re once again asking for generous donations.”
Foodbank workers will be in store on Saturday’s from 9am to 5pm to accept donations.
Shoppers will be asked to donate food from a list of items which will be handed out in store.
Joanne Tweddle, Asda community colleague, said: “We hope we can do as well as last March when we collected 1,074kg from our generous customers.
“If customers cannot get in on Saturday we will still accept donations in store at any time.”
Hartlepool Foodbank, based at 28 Church Street, provides needy people with emergency food parcels to last three days.
But it says 90 per cent of the food they distribute os donated by the public.
Supermarket collections are one of the main ways they get their stocks.
In the last year, Hartlepool Foodbank collected 5.7 tonnes of food from the public which helped feed 1,129 people, including 426 children.
Benefit delay is the biggest reason for people being referred to foodbanks like Hartlepool’s.
Other reasons include delayed wages, domestic violence, and homelessness.