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Hartlepool foodbank providing 900 extra meals a month to prevent people going hungry

Foodbank coordinator Abi Knowles in the Hartlepool Foodbank food storage area. Picture by FRANK REID
Foodbank coordinator Abi Knowles in the Hartlepool Foodbank food storage area. Picture by FRANK REID

Hartlepool Foodbank has provided almost 900 extra meals as increasing numbers of people in crisis turn to them for help.

Since January, the charity which provides food parcels to people in need, has provided 8,040 meals to 1,816 adults and 814 children.

Hartlepool's Food Bank co-ordinator Abi Knowles is need of more donations

Hartlepool's Food Bank co-ordinator Abi Knowles is need of more donations

Managers say this represents an increase of almost 900 meals compared to the same period last year.

Hartlepool Foodbank coordinator Abi Knowles said: “We have definitely seen an increase in people coming down over the last few months with all sorts or crises; families, single people and couples.

“We are getting a lot of new faces which is something we have not really had before which is a little bit worrying.

“We are doing more emergency food boxes for different agencies in the town such as the Kilmarnock Centre and West View centre.

“That means we are having to buy more food to replace what is going out and is more than can be budgeted for.”

Abi said they have been buoyed by some fantastic recent donations, including nine-year-old Aneesa Nayyar from Newcastle who collected a huge pile of food after she read about holiday hunger in Hartlepool.

But demand has continued to rise during the school holidays in spite of numerous holiday clubs using council grants to help families who rely on free school meals during term time.

Hartlepool Borough Council has made £25,000 available for a Filling The Holiday Gap scheme over this year’s school summer holidays.

Abi added: “We are really lucky with the holiday clubs in town but six weeks is such a long time to be feeding an extra two, three or four kids.

“Eventually it will come to it where they need to come down to the foodbank for extra support which is where we step in.

“We are definitely seeing more families and larger families at this time of year.”

The foodbank which is part of the Trussell trust network of foodbanks up and down the country, is appealing for help to boost stocks of a variety of items.

They are especially in need of:

• Pasta sauces

• Soup

• Tinned fruit

• Coffee

• Biscuits

• Toiletries including men’s and women’s deodorants and shower gels

Donations can be taken to the rear of the foodbank at 28 Church Street between 11.30am-1.30pm Tuesdays and Fridays.

A number of supermarkets also have collection points including Tesco Extra, in Burn Road; Sainsbury’s at Seaton Carew, Morrisons, Clarence Road, and Asda on Marina Way.