WE CAN DO IT: Foodbank organisers ‘overwhelmed’ by response

Food Bank co-ordinator, Al Wales with some of the groceries already donated to the campaign
Food Bank co-ordinator, Al Wales with some of the groceries already donated to the campaign

ORGANISERS of Hartlepool’s first foodbank say they have been overhelmed with the response of residents and organisations – with a third of the target already donated.

Around a tonne of non-perishable food has been donated to Hartlepool Foodbank, though organisers admit there is still a long way to go.

Three tonnes of food needs to be handed over before the food can start being distributed.

But since the Mail launched its We Can Do It campaign last week, residents have certainly played their part in ensuring the poverty-hit are fed.

Al Wales, co-ordinator of the Hartlepool Foodbank, said: “It was been quite overwhelming since the appeal was launched.

“We are already a third of the way to our target of three tonnes which is great news.

“The quality of the donations has been impressive and people have been going out shopping with the Hartlepool Foodbank in mind.”

The foodbank distribution centre, at 28 Church Street, opened its doors yesterday as people had the first opportunity to hand over non-perishable food items.

The centre will open between 11am and 1pm every Tuesday throughout October to allow people to drop their tins of food or other donations in.

Hartlepool Foodbank is then expected to start distributing food before Christmas.

The We Can Do It campaign was launched after it was revealed that 28.6 per cent of Hartlepool children are living in poverty.

The scheme will see food parcels being made up into hampers and handed out to hard-up families.

Churches across Hartlepool are involved in the programme and there has also been interest from pubs and mother and toddler groups who want to collect donations on their behalf.

Al added: “We have been quite taken aback by the response.

“It has been really nice and people have popped in to learn more about the scheme.

“There has been a really eclectic mix of people looking to get involved and we are pleased with the way things are going.”

Al revealed a number of people have also handed over money donations.

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond and town MP Iain Wright have given their backing to the We Can Do It campaign.

Bosses at Middleton Grange Shopping Centre have also vowed to make a unit available to use as a warehouse to store the food free of charge.

Foodbank volunteers will also be in the Central Square in the shopping centre in the week beginning November 12 to collect items from shoppers.