Foodbank appeals for more donations due to ‘significant demand’

Charlotte Randall-Pape, Mark Shrubb and Rev Gemma Sampson with some of the items donated to The Family Kitchen's first gathering.
Charlotte Randall-Pape, Mark Shrubb and Rev Gemma Sampson with some of the items donated to The Family Kitchen's first gathering.

Community leaders running a Hartlepool foodbank operation say they are in desperate need of more supplies due to “significant demand”.

More than 100 people are believed to have used the Family Kitchen at St Aidan’s Church in the town.

Thursday morning from 9.30am is the best time to drop stuff off, but the parish office is open between 6pm and 7pm on a Tuesday and I will take stuff in then.

Kathrine Batty

The project, while helping to feed those in need of a meal such as the homeless, is open to anyone feeling lonely or in need of some company.

In addition to serving up soup, the gathering offers sandwiches, cake and other sweet treats, hot drinks and juice, with visitors welcome to take home a bag of food.

But the foodbank is now running low on stock and organisers are hoping that kind-hearted town people will come forward to donate items.

Councillor Dave Hunter, who is involved with the project, said: “We always give out food bags to people who come but we are running very low on things at the minute.

“We have significant demand right now and there were well over 100 people there last week.

“We need toiletries, food and even the most basic things in life that we tend to take for granted such as toilet paper.

“Every thing that is donated helps people.”

Church administrator Kathrine Batty said: “We get stock in on Thursday morning and by Thursday evening, it’s pretty much all gone.

“Thursday morning from 9.30am is the best time to drop stuff off, but the parish office is open between 6pm and 7pm on a Tuesday and I will take stuff in then. We’d rather not have people popping in and out while services are going on.

“We will take anything but clothes - we had to stop because we had nowhere to store them.

“Greggs and Sainsbury’s give us fresh items, so what we really need are tins and dry food, things that will keep.

“We also need toiletries - especially men’s toiletries. People tend just to give us women’s, but it’s men’s we need, and things like nappies and sanitary towels.”

As well as the foodbank, St Aidan’s also runs a weekly lunch club for the homeless and those in need.

Set up last September by mum Charlotte Randall-Pape and firefighter Mark Shrubb, with the backing of church curate Reverend Gemma Sampson, The Family Kitchen is open to anyone in need of company.

In addition to serving up soup, the gathering offers sandwiches, cake and other treats, hot drinks and juice, with visitors welcome to take home a bag of food.

It runs from 11am each Thursday. To volunteer email: revdgemma@gmail.com.