Help the fight against food poverty this Christmas

Eastwood Volunteer Food Bank. Pictured l-r is Chris Ratcliffe, Marlene Seagrave and Robert Ratcliffe.

Eastwood Volunteer Food Bank. Pictured l-r is Chris Ratcliffe, Marlene Seagrave and Robert Ratcliffe.

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Today the Advertiser is calling on kind-hearted residents to spare some food to help fight poverty during the festive season.

We are launching our ‘Feed Our Families’ campaign in the run up to Christmas, by making sure our food banks are well stocked.

And for the first time, we will be joining forces with our sister titles, including the Hucknall Dispatch, Mansfield Chad, Worksop Guardian and Derbyshire Times to help as many people in need as possible to put food on the table.

At a time when more and more people are battling against the breadline with household incomes at breaking point, people are still turning to food banks as a lifeline.

That’s why we at the paper are taking up the baton and asking you to get on board to boost the food bank by making a donation, no matter how small — every tin counts.

Group editor Nancy Fielder said: “This isn’t about handing over cash. This isn’t about pricking your conscience.

“This is about something much more simple than that. This is about you having the power to improve lives - the lives of your neighbours, friends and colleagues.

“Take a look in your cupboards. Buy an extra tin of beans when you do the weekly shop.”

The biggest food bank in our region is run by the Eastwood Volunteer Bureau in Wellington Place.

Set up a few years ago, bags of food has been distributed to those desperately in need.

When food is donated it is checked for use-by dates, sorted and stored by workers at the centre.

People in need of that extra bit of help can either get a food voucher off the Citizens Advice Bureau or job centre, or alternatively they can take proof of how much they receive in benefits directly along to the volunteer bureau.

The bureau distributes about 40 bags of food each month.

But this figure is expected to rise as we get further into the winter and those on low incomes face choices between eating and heating.

Bureau manager Sue Bagshaw said: “With winter coming I’m sure we’ll get more people coming in.

“The demand always increases at Christmas time.”

Each December those people who collect the food are given a Christmas bag.

Mrs Bagshaw is appealing to people to bring in Christmas items that could be included, particularly biscuits and chocolates, and treats for children such as selection boxes

Food donations come in from all sorts of people, as well as local churches and of course supermarkets. Warburtons bakery donates 40 loaves of bread each week.

Mrs Bagshaw said: “There’s one man who drops off between £100 and £200 every now and then.

“He just comes in and asks if we are still doing the foodbank, and he’ll just leave the cash for us to spend on food. He doesn’t want any thanks for it.

“Someone else comes in with a tin of soup every week. The public are very good.”

The volunteer bureau gives several bags of food a month to Rumbletums Cafe in Kimberley, so there is a pick up point for people living in that area as well.

Donations of non-perishable food is always needed – soup, tinned tomatoes, pasta, rice, tinned meat, cereal and long life milk.

People who receive more than £110 in benefits each week will not qualify for a food parcel