National Food Bank Day: Make a small change and fight food poverty in Northampton

On National Food Bank Day 2019, Northampton's food banks are in greater need than ever...

Thursday, 5th September 2019, 9:56 pm
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Food banks feed thousands of people in Northampton every year. In February, Emmanuel Church in Weston Fevell reported they fed over 3,000 people in 2018.Often, people are pointed to food banks by agencies when they are in dire need. Some have not eaten for days; others will feed their children first and go hungry themselves.The need for rapidly rising across the town. Town centre charity Re:Store, based at the Central Vineyard building in Sheep Street, referrals for people accessing the food bank has shot up by 40 per cent in the space of a year.In fact, the charity hit an all-time high in July when 286 people where referred them for emergency help.Re:Store funding Manager Alex Turtle said: "I think the need for food banks has grown because people are more aware of them and we've shaken off some of the stigmas around them."But the situation we've found ourselves in nationally has led to people coming to food banks, such as precarious employment through zero-hour contracts or rent problems."That and universal credit was introduced in Northampton last year, and that caused some teething problems that affected many people."But Re:Store isn't the only food bank in town. Dozens of churches and charities like Emmanuel Church in Weston Favell or the Hope Centre work to offer emergency food to people in need - and all of them rely on public donations.For National Food Bank Day, make a small change and think about how to help your nearest charity during your next weekly shop.Re:Store has published a list of common essentials on their website to print out and keep in mind during food shops. View the list here:https://www.restorenorthampton.org.uk/donate-to-food-bank.htmlIf you are in need of support, a list of agencies who can refer you to a food bank can be found here:https://www.restorenorthampton.org.uk/agencies.html

What's the best way to donate? What do food banks need the most? Where can you find one? How would you access one if you needed it?
Alex at Re:Store said: "Donations are absolutely crucial. We are reliant on them and I would say summer has been a particularly tough period on our stocks. We always urge people to consider donating."

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A popular way people donate to food banks is to add a few items to their weekly shop and set it aside to donate later.
People who are referred to a food bank for an emergency are helped with a food parcel to feed them and the people they support for three days.
Re:Store work with other charities and churches like Emmanuel Church in Weston Favell and the Northampton Hope Centre - and they are all in just as much need.
Emmanuel Church, in Weston Favell, gave out 12 tonnes of food in 2018 to feed over 3,000 people in the town - they, too, also rely on donations from the public.
Alex at Re:Store said: "We're grateful to any donations. If people can keep us in mind while they're shopping it will always be welcome. It doesn't have to be a huge donation at a time."
Re:Store also open a small cafe at the Central Vineyard for people to enjoy while their food parcels are put together.
Re:Store have produced this list of essentials they often need - but these essentials are valuable to all food banks in Northampton. Find the list on their website at https://www.restorenorthampton.org.uk/donate-to-food-bank.html.
If you are in need of emergency help from a food bank, a list of agencies that can refer you can be found here: https://www.restorenorthampton.org.uk/agencies.html