There is a perception that Food Banks are just about handing out food parcels to benefit ‘scroungers’ who have had their benefits stopped. Nothing could be further from the truth explained Wendy Doyle, Operations Manager at Leeds South & East Food Bank.
“Every case is different, one woman came to us for help when her husband died unexpectedly. He was just 39 and they had been married for less than a year so she had no access to his pension. She was trying to feed three children with just her part time wage.”
“Another woman turned up to work one morning to find the firm had closed down. She had no job, no pay, no redundancy. This is what’s happening in Britain today.”
The Food Bank is based on an industrial estate in Beeston and operates from 12 centres stretching from Drighlington to Seacroft. In South Leeds these are: St Andrew’s Church in Beeston, St Cross Church in Middleton, Belle Isle Family Centre and Hunslet Methodist Church.
Wendy, like all the staff at the Food Bank is a volunteer. Volunteers receive training and several have recently found paid work as a result of their volunteering experience.
The team also get help from volunteers at local firms. In the last month teams from Lloyds Bank, DTP, Asda HQ and National Powergrid have all helped out.
As well as food parcels the Food Bank helps tackle hunger in other ways. It supports school breakfast clubs, supplying cereal to children who would otherwise be trying to study on an empty stomach. It supports drop in sessions such as the Hunslet Methodist Breakfast Club on a Thursday and BITMO’s GATE Tasty Tuesdays in Belle Isle. It also works with St George’s Crypt and Holbeck Food Bank.
“I just was to give a big, massive Thank You to everyone who donates and supports our work” said Wendy.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Can you spare 3 hours a week? The Food Bank needs more volunteers to meet clients and distribute food.
Training is provided.
Donate food, especially Tinned Fruit, Tinned Vegetables, Tinned and Powdered Potatoes, Nappies, Juice, and Pasta Sauce. Please make sure all goods are non-perishable and in date. Bring them to Unit 16 Ashbrooke Business Park, Parkside Lane, LEEDS, LS11 5SF. The warehouse is open Mon-Thur 8:30am-4pm, Fri: 8:30am-12:30pm.
To make a financial donation visit: mydonate.bt.com/charities/leedsfoodbank.
IF YOU NEED HELP
You can be referred by any professional: GP, teacher, community worker, health visitor, social worker, etc.
As well as an emergency food parcel you will be signposted to agencies who can help you with financial, health and other issues.