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Haverhill Foodbank calls for more food as stocks run low

Lesley Cogger, Gavin McConkey and Ann Allen (right) at a previous food collection by Tesco for the Haverhill Foodbank
Lesley Cogger, Gavin McConkey and Ann Allen (right) at a previous food collection by Tesco for the Haverhill Foodbank

A seasonal drop in donations and a surge in demand has left Haverhill Foodbank very short of some of the staple items required to fill foodboxes given to people in need.

With fewer food items being received due to the holiday period and more people needing foodboxes during the school holidays, the foodbank is appealing for help to plug the shortfalls.

Ann Allen, Haverhill Foodbank manager, said: “I think you have to take into account that because families are not getting their free school meals they are having to provide more for their children (while they are off school).

“That’s definitely having an impact and, of course, people are not donating as much food at this time of year.”

Delays to Universal Credit payments are also adding to the difficulties, as Mrs Allen explained: “We are seeing a number of people coming to us because they are waiting for their first payment of Universal Credit.

“It’s paid monthly so if you swapped over from one of the other benefits, that would have been paid fortnightly, whereas Universal Credit is paid monthly and that’s if your claim goes through without any complications.

“We are seeing quite a lot of people, sometimes they can’t cope with a monthly income and some are new claims.

“A foodbox isn’t just a few tins of beans and a loaf of bread, it’s items that people could put together to make a few meals that would last a week.

“We want to be able to give them better food, we do a lot of tinned meat and fish and fruit and vegetables.

“The foodbank was never meant for someone to live on for ever and ever, it was meant as a stopgap for people to live on while their credit was sorted out, or whatever.

“There are some brilliant people out there who donate religiously week after week after week and that’s brilliant that people do that.”

However, with some regular donors such as schools not currently giving food items because they are closed for the summer holidays, the foodbank, which is 10 years old this year, is finding itself short in certain areas.

Some foodbanks in other communities are struggling more to make ends meet, but the arrangements in Haverhill, where donations points have been set up at a number of locations, has mitigated the effects locally.

Donation points include Tesco, Sainsbury’s, the Next Door Café in Camps Road and the Reach Resource Centre in Leiston Road.

Of particular need at the moment are UHT milk, tinned fruit and sponge puddings.

Mrs Allen added: “We are just trying to get through this period of time and get our stocks back up really.

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