33 tonnes of goodwill for Hartlepool families

Al Wales (left) and Ali Lee restocking the Hartlepool Foodbank.
Al Wales (left) and Ali Lee restocking the Hartlepool Foodbank.

More than 30 tonnes of food was donated to help feed families on the breadline in Hartlepool in 2015.

The massive amount was given to Hartlepool Foodbank and made into emergency food parcels for 3,500 townspeople, including more than 1,000 youngsters.

The donation to the foodbank in Church Street this year – almost all of which has already been given out – is the equivalent weight of 22 small cars.

Project managers say the number of people referred to them for help has fallen slightly in the last year, but add there is still a high demand for their help.

Al Wales, centre manager of Hartlepool Foodbank, said: “The number of referrals is less than last year, which hopefully is a sign of people’s situations improving, but, with such high numbers still being referred, the coldest months yet to come and the impact of universal credit unknown, there is still a long way to go in eradicating food poverty.

“Also, many of those we have seen this year have exhausted all other forms of support and without our service would have nowhere else to turn.”

There is still a long way to go in eradicating food poverty

Al Wales - Hartlepool Foodbank manager

In 2015, Hartlepool Foodbank had more than 2,000 referrals from its 40-plus frontline partner agencies.

It gave out a total of 3,433 food parcels this year.

That equated to three meals a day, for three days, for 2,500 adults and just over 1,000 children under 17.

Al said the potential impact of the foodbank cannot be underestimated, as for many people it is the first step in helping them to access other services and support which can help get their lives back on track.

Hartlepool’s branch has launched a debt advice service, in partnership with Community Money Advice (CMA), after winning funding and has received its first referrals.

The foodbank is also running a pilot scheme in conjunction with five local schools to help 
tackle the issue of holiday hunger, including over Christmas.

Al added: “On behalf of the foodbank team and those who have been supported through the project, I would like to say a big thank you to the individuals, churches, businesses, schools and other organisations who have donated food, cash and other items to the project this year.

“The ongoing success of the foodbank is made possible because of your generosity.”

Hartlepool Foodbank, launched in 2012, and was supported through the Mail’s We Can Do It campaign.

It is part of the Trussell Trust charity which co-ordinates a network of food banks up and down the country.