Food Banks have been set up by local and national organisations to help people who are in crisis. They provide short-term emergency relief for people who would otherwise go hungry.
There are several Food Banks in Tameside; and most of these have been set up recently. Supporting the community to have enough of the right food to eat can engage the whole community. This is because Food Banks need some organisation, some resources, volunteer helpers and lots of supporters. Often, this interest starts simply, when people buy an extra tin when they are shopping.
Food Banks have been set up in most areas of Tameside by organisations that were already trying to support people in their local communities.
A Food Bank needs volunteers to run it, people to give food, a fairly small amount of money, storage space, and volunteers to make up food parcels to meet different needs. Finally, it needs volunteers who have a sympathetic ear to help reassure people who are forced to come to a Food Bank, because they have no food.
All Food Banks have referrers who recognise when people are in need. People who come to Food Banks have the support of these referrers, and this provides a safeguard for those who give their times and money.
The basic reason why people need Food Banks is because they don't have food to put on the table. At the moment, when people give reasons, the most common reasons are benefit delay or sanction, or having debts which take up all their spare income.
Single people and families, working people and those unable to find work: a wide range of people need Food Banks.
One thing that all Food Bank volunteers have in common is that they believe that people should have enough to eat. Some Food Bank volunteers and supporters have themselves been helped when they were in need. Some supporters are trying to see the bigger picture, but they don't want to just stand around complaining.
Perhaps it is better not to generalise or judge, but just to try think what sort of communitities we want to live in, and then try to make good things happen.
Food Banks are not the answer to all the problems of food poverty; they don't provide a varied diet of fresh food, for example. But at the moment they are needed, partly because of political decisions that are making poor people poorer and rich people richer.
In February 2013, about 400 people were helped by Food Banks in Tameside.
Many people think that the need for Food Banks will go up in 2013. If this happens, Food Banks will need more support.
Food Banks tend to be quite calm places, though they sometimes get busy! Food Bank volunteers don't give advice, but they listen, and may be able to give information about further help.
Food Bank help is confidential and volunteers are not there to judge people. Food Banks will usually give 3 days worth of non-perishable food each visit, to a person or family. People can normally make up to three visits in a certain time period.
**Donations of clothing, winter coats, bedding and children's toys are welcomed at the Clothing Bank at Fletcher Street
The most helpful way in which you can help a Food Bank is by beginning to
form a relationship. That way you get
to know people and start to understand what makes them tick
Food Banks need...
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