Ballymena Foodbank feeding up to 60 people in crisis each week

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Ballymena Foodbank has been feeding up to 60 people on a weekly basis - and is now recruiting local schools to help with their campaign.

Foodbank has already received vital assistance from Dunclug College, Castle Tower School, Groggan, Diamond and Camphill primary schools but similar efforts in other schools could really make a huge difference to help support local people in crisis.

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Volunteer Karen Scott says: “Setting collection points up in schools is straightforward. I teach at The Diamond where we have been collecting food once per term for almost two years.

“Parents are simply informed that the collection has started and children and staff bring in non- perishable items and place them in a box in the corridor.

“Once filled the food is taken to Ballymena Foodbank, weighed in and we then inform parents and carers of the amount collected on our school website and in news sheets.”

Ballymena Foodbank Co-ordinator Janice Colgan would be delighted to partner with other local schools and would be more than happy to explain about how to get a collection scheme started.

Any schools interested in getting involved should contact Ballymena Foodbank in 02825650123.

“Without these local donations we simply could not operate and help the families in need. It’s a fabulous way to improve school community links and raise awareness of the increased need in our town and surrounding areas,” Foodbank manager, Mandy Frew added.

Every day people in Northern Ireland and the wider United Kingdom go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income.

Trussell Trust foodbanks provide a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in the UK. Last year the network fed over 900,000 people.

All food is donated by the public and sorted by volunteers. Frontline care professionals such as doctors and social workers identify people in crisis and issue a food voucher. Clients receive three days of nutritionally balanced, non-perishable food in exchange for their food voucher. Foodbanks also make time to chat and to signpost clients to other helpful services.

Foodbanks help prevent crime, housing loss, family breakdown and mental health problems. A simple box of food makes a big difference.

The Trussell Trust partners with churches and communities to open new foodbanks right across the United Kingdom. With over 400 foodbanks projects launched, the Trust’s goal is for every town to have one.