WE CAN DO IT: Foodbank support rolls in

Pastor Maurice Mattison of the Owton Manor Baptist Church is backing the Mail's We Can You Can food bank appeal.
Pastor Maurice Mattison of the Owton Manor Baptist Church is backing the Mail's We Can You Can food bank appeal.
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CARING churches are at the forefront of work to support a new foodbank for needy people in Hartlepool.

A number of town churches are helping the new initiative which the Mail is supporting with our We Can Do It campaign.

We are encouraging kind-hearted readers to help with donations of non-perishable foods to help feed hard-up families.

Owton Manor Baptist Church is among the first groups to back the scheme.

Pastor Maurice Mathison is on the foodbank’s steering committee and has been involved in the project from its beginning.

He said: “A few of us from different churches went to a meeting put on by the Trussell Trust.

“It just seemed such a good project for Hartlepool and Owton Manor in particular where we have a certain need.

“I reported back to Churches Together in Hartlepool and together we could see it could be an excellent project.

“Quite a number of churches have already given £125 to get the project up and running.”

Contributions from Owton Manor Baptist Church’s upcoming harvest festival will go towards donations for the foodbank.

Meanwhile foodbank co-ordinator Al Wales said a network of partner agencies across town is being formed to help support the donations and identify people in crisis for referral.

As well as churches, they include schools and the Jobcentre.

Deciding who will qualify to receive one of the food handouts will be left to the partner agencies based on their knowledge of clients.

“They are expert at identifying where there is crisis,” said Al.

She added: “Nationally, some of the most common referrals are when someone sees a change or a delay in their benefits.

“It can leave them in a really difficult situation financially.

“Something like an unexpected big bill can also put real pressure.

“Every agency we have spoken to so far has been really supportive and we haven’t had a no.

“There are lots of agencies that could sign up so we are taking it a step at a time.”

The foodbank’s distribution centre in Church Street will open for the first time tomorrow. Organisers say they need to collect three tonnes of food in the run up to the launch expected to be in December.

● Let us know what you plan to do. Ring the Mail newsdesk on (01429) 239381, email the newsdesk or tweet #MailCanDoIt