Amazing three tonnes of food donated to Hartlepool food bank as town shows its kindness after empty shelves appeal

Hartlepool's Food Bank co-ordinator Abi Knowles
Hartlepool's Food Bank co-ordinator Abi Knowles

A Hartlepool food charity’s shelves are looking far more healthy after a massive surge in support.

Just weeks ago, Hartlepool Foodbank’s warehouse was looking practically empty after a drop in donations and rising demand.

Sacred Heart Primary School was one of several schools and churches to collect for Hartlepool Foodbank during harvest time. Picture by Frank Reid.

Sacred Heart Primary School was one of several schools and churches to collect for Hartlepool Foodbank during harvest time. Picture by Frank Reid.

But a public appeal for more support, including in the Mail and on social media, and harvest donations by schools and churches has resulted in about three tonnes of food being collected.

Abi Knowles, coordinator of Hartlepool Foodbank, said: “It has been great and is really going to make a huge difference.

“The food we have collected is going to see us into the busier period before we start getting Christmas donations in.

“We had a brilliant response to our appeals. We normally contact schools and churches around this time of year.

Hartlepool foodbank's shelves are much fuller after a recent harvest appeal.

Hartlepool foodbank's shelves are much fuller after a recent harvest appeal.

“Schools particularly have got behind us and a lot of people have said they had seen on social media or in the paper that we were struggling a little bit.”

The food bank, based in Church Street, supports about 120 people every week.

It gives out about half a tonne of food a week meaning the recent donations should last around six weeks.

It is part of the Trussell Trust charity which runs food banks up and down the country.

Coordinator Abi Knowles when stocks were very low.

Coordinator Abi Knowles when stocks were very low.

Abi added: “Around Christmas the amount of food we give out goes up because we give out emergency food parcels.

“They weigh about 20kg and we give out up to 900 in the lead up to Christmas to different organisations as well as our usual sessions, so the recent donations are going to make a huge difference.”

Vouchers are provided by a host of partner agencies to be exchanged for food parcels containing enough for three days. The amount of food given out varies as the vouchers are used by single people, couples and whole families of up to 10 people.

Earlier this week, Hartlepool Borough Council agreed to give the food bank £10,000 to support its work.

Volunteers are wanted to help with the food bank’s big upcoming Christmas collection.

It takes place at Tesco Extra, Burn Road, Hartlepool, between Thursday, November 29 and Saturday, December 1.

Abi said: “Any help would be really appreciated. We generally get 1.5 tonnes of food from the collection which is really vital for us over Christmas and into January.”

Call (01429) 598404 or email info@hartlepool.foodbank.org.uk