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Food for thought in Kidderminster
Buy this photo » Real need: From left, Rev Derek Arnold with foodbank volunteers Ann Lloyd, Maureen Lewis, John Hyde and Martin Lewis stacking shelves. Buy this photo 191230M.
CHARITY groups have united to help feed Kidderminster people unable to put food on their tables after becoming victims of the economic downturn.
The crisis has prompted organisations to band together to open the Kidderminster Foodbank distribution centre at Baxter Church on Tuesday, May 15.
Churches and organisations will hand out vouchers on the recommendation of health professionals and social services to exchange for three days of emergency food. It is being run in partnership with the Tussell Trust, which helps combat poverty.
Wyre Forest Nightstop, which will issue vouchers, has seen the number of people aged 16 to 25 being provided with food more than double this year.
Maureen Lewis, food bank co-ordinator, said: “We want to get people through this crisis. It is almost like wartime again.
“There is a need for the poor, people without jobs, who are sick or whose benefits have changed or stopped.
“We will keep going until the need is not there any more.”
Organising committee chairman, Andy Coulthard, added: “All agencies we work with are saying thank God you are doing something. They are crying out for this.”
In 2011, Tussell Trust foodbanks across the UK fed 128,000 people, double the 60,000 using them the year before.
Nightstop, which provides emergency accommodation and support to young people, has given out food on more than 50 occasions since January, including 16 times to under-18s.
Co-ordinator Judith Ford said: “This is more than double this time last year. Until the foodbank opens there is no structured system for accessing emergency food in the district.
“Since January, Nightstop had 40 referrals of homeless people. Often if they are homeless, they also need food.”
Rev Derek Arnold, rector for Kidderminster West Team Ministry, said: “There has been a rise in need but people tend to keep it to themselves. We are making this as comfortable as possible.
“We think it will make a huge difference.”
The centre will open on Tuesdays from 12.30pm until 3.30pm and Fridays from 9.30am until 12.30pm weekly.
For more information on how to donate or help, call Mrs Lewis on 01562 822771.