Banbury Foodbank Opens

An emergency food bank has been set up in Banbury to help families in financial crises. For some it's a choice between food or heating.

Latest figures show a fifth of people in the UK are living below the poverty line and some struggle to put food on the table.

The service is run twice a week by The Peoples Church in Horse Fair along with the Trussell Trust and provides families with food for three days.

Almost a tonne of food has already been donated, with the first people expected to start using the service this week.

Sarah Williams, the Foodbank manager says parents are skipping meals so their children can eat. It can happen for a host of reasons like redundancy, benefit delays or an unexpected bill.

"One of the things the Trussell Trust does say it that we're all really only a pay check away from needing help in some shape, form or fashion."

Funding to get the project started comes from Banbury Brighter Futures, run by Cherwell District Council, Banbury Town Council and Charter Housing Association.

Councillor John Donaldson, Cherwell’s lead member for Banbury Brighter Futures, said:

"For some families it is a choice between providing food and heating their homes.

"This new service will literally be a lifeline for some and particularly vital as we head into the winter months.

Donations are limited to sixteen different items, with suggested menus and recipe cards to help households manage the food pack each day.

The project is modelled on a national template created by the Trussell Trust which helps create community projects to tackle poverty in the UK.

The food donated by the public gets sorted into food parcels. Doctors and social workers then issue foodbank vouchers to families in need. These then get exchanged for the food parcel where foodbank staff are able to offer help and support.

Sarah Williams says the Church is delighted they are able to help.

"We will be taking responsibility for bringing together teams of volunteers from across the town to donate the food, collect it and store it and then help distribute it to people in need."

This is what they need:
*    UHT or powdered milk.
*    500g bags of sugar
*    Cartons of fruit juice
*    Soup
*    Pasta sauces
*    Tinned sponge pudding
*    Tomatoes
*    Cereals
*    Tinned rice pudding
*    Teabags/instant coffee
*    Instant mashed potato
*    Rice/pasta
*    Tinned meat/fish
*    Tinned fruit
*    Jam
*    Biscuits or snack bars

Donations can be dropped of at the The Peoples Church in Horse Fair between 10am and noon on Tuesdays and Fridays.