Two of the biggest services tackling poverty in Northampton join forces as food donations deplete
The Northampton Hope Centre and Weston Favell Centre Food Bank has teamed up to appeal to the generosity of the public to dig deep and help with donations as demand for food from their services has increased.
Although both groups help some of Northampton's poorest people the services they provide are different.
Weston Favell Centre Food Bank package up emergency food parcels every Wednesday and provide support to people trapped in poverty. Last week 48 parcels were handed out, which fed 146 people over three days.
The provision of hot meals handed out by on-site cafe, Cafe Emm to Weston Favell Centre Food Bank users has also seen a year-on-year increase of 232 per cent in January. They fed 142 food bank users - costing £249 - in the cafe by giving them a slice of toast and a cup of tea, some of whom had not eaten for a few days.
This stark reality follows the roll-out of Universal Credit launched in Northampton back in November, volunteers at the food bank say.
Weston Favell Centre Food Bank manager Jo Alderman said: "Donations have slowed down but the need has grown and it's just using up the stock quicker.
"It worries me that we are not going to be able to meet the need."
Hope Food Club - a Hope Centre charity - is also in need of donations.
The club gives people with low incomes, and on benefits, a chance to buy essential food items at a fraction of the cost so that families can free up their earnings for other bills and parts of their lives.
The scheme works as a co-operative and the plan is that Hope Food Club will ultimately be controlled by the people who use the service. It now operates in six areas in Northampton.
The Hope Centre also cooks breakfast in their day centre for its users, using fresh eggs, bacon, sausages, bread and milk - all of which they are in need of every week.
Between the two services at the Hope Centre the charity feeds about 400 people every week.
The Hope Centre and Weston Favell Centre Food Bank are now having to swap their donations so they each have enough and the right food and toiletries to give to service users.
The Hope Centre believes donations have tapered off due to the traditional times in the year where giving in the UK is encouraged, like Harvest Festival and Christmas.
Robin Burgess CEO at the Hope Centre said: "It's really important to state that we are working together and we have shared needs. Even if we are sharing, there's just not enough stuff out there that's the bottom line. Shelves are becoming bare because that's the reality.
"This is not about individuals who have mismanaged their money, this is just how people have to live.
"It's an ongoing epidemic week after week. We have not enough food and not enough money to sustain it therefore we can't help as many people."
If you want to donate to the Hope Centre - here's a list of what it is in need of: rice, tea, fresh vegetables and fruit, milk, eggs, bacon and sausages, cheese, bread, cereals, tinned or jars of sauces for pasta etc, tinned meat and fish, toilet roll, squash.
If you would like to donate to Weston Favell Centre Food Bank - here's a list of what it is in need of: tinned meat and fish, granulated sugar, cooking oil, salt, tinned fruit, razors, shower gel and washing powder.