ELEVEN people receive food donations from Hartlepool Foodbank every day, we can reveal.
The Mail launched its We Can Do It campaign one year ago this week to help to launch the foodbank and help feed poverty-hit families in the town.
And in just 10 months, a staggering 3,407 hard-up people in Hartlepool have received a food package with food for up to three days from the bank.
The worrying figures also reveal that 1,192 of those recipients are children.
Al Wales, Hartlepool Foodbank co-ordinator, today told the Mail: “It’s satisfying to know we have helped so many people, that’s what the foodbank was set up for.
“But it’s extremely worrying and sad that so many people in the town are living in such circumstances.”
The We Can Do It campaign was launched this time last year after figures revealed 28.6 per cent of Hartlepool children were living in poverty.
At the time of funding cuts and changes to the welfare system, civic leaders said the foodbank was crucial for people living in crisis in the town.
After extremely generous individuals and businesses in the town helped to donate more than three tonnes of non-perishable food, the foodbank was officially opened in early December, last year, with the full backing of Churches Together and UK charity Trussell Trust.
The figures released to the Mail at the end of last week mean, on average, more than 340 people including 119 children, have received donations every month since the launch.
Al explained that what the figures don’t highlight is how many of those people went back to the foodbank on more than one occasion.
She added: “Like I said, it is extremely sad that so many people are living in these circumstances.
“However Trussell Trust is doing a fantastic job of raising awareness of the issue.
“I don’t think people quite realise just how many people out there are struggling from day to day.
“But it’s the reality and what the figures do show is how crucial it was to launch the foodbank in Hartlepool.”
Al thanked everyone who has donated, supported and volunteered to help the foodbank since the launch.
And she is encouraging the town to continue that show of support and to keep backing the foodbank.
The distribution centre, based at 28 Church Street, opens on a Tuesday and Friday from 11.30am-1.30pm where people can donate their non-perishable food items.
Hartlepool’s Tesco supermarket in Burn Road is also setting up a permanent collection point while Asda, in Marina Way, is happy to take donations on behalf of the foodbank.
Al said the foodbank process is very dignified and said the aim is not to make people dependent on the foodbank but to help those in crisis.
GPs, social workers, church leaders and the JobCentre all hand out vouchers to those in need, which provide a package with enough produce to last for three days.
To contact the foodbank, or to arrange collections for significant amounts of food, call (01429) 598404.