Storehouse foodbank in Sudbury launches urgent appeal for donations as demand soars
A foodbank in Sudbury has launched an urgent appeal for additional supplies, following an unprecedented rise in demand.
The Storehouse, based at the Stour Valley Vineyard Church in Tudor Road, has seen need dramatically increase by 188 per cent, compared to the same period in 2018.
This quarter, the charity has fed, on average, 60 people a week, which is almost double that of the same period last year. Last month saw a record number of 312 people seeking support from the service.
“We have been running for 10 years, but this is the first time we have found users in crisis with food,” said Vicky Leonard, Storehouse community liaison, who pointed out that the charity usually served as a stop-gap for families and individuals living on the bread line.
“We have seen a dramatic change in our demographic – the majority had been individuals, but most are families now,” she said.
A large proportion of users have been working families, who have found themselves in financial difficulties.
“It could be a car breaking down or a sickness in the family, which is then another small extra expense to deal with,” said Vicky, who highlighted that, for a majority of people, having to prioritise other expenses over food has been commonplace.
“The people we see don’t have savings,” she said. “Savings are a luxury, which people don’t have, and they are going hand to mouth.”
Accepting food supplies can prove very difficult for some people, which can have a damaging effect on their sense of dignity.
“They feel ashamed and very low because they have had to seek this support,which they feel is a hand out from a charity,” said Vicky, who pointed out some of the factors that can lead to people approaching a foodbank.
“The cost of looking after children is very expensive, particularly those who don’t receive free school meals.”
“Rent is also going up, so money is going on heating the house.”
About 40 per cent of those who have received supplies this year, have been children.
With limited means of public transport, living in a rural area can make it virtually impossible for people to get by without owning a car, explained Vicky.
“If something needs replacing, they need to have it fixed, which is why they prioritise that over food,” she said.
The charity, which must raise £16,000 to fund the cost of running the foodbank each year, is seeking financial support from businesses and organisations through sponsorship.
“It’s incredibly hard to get grants for running costs,” said Vicky.
The charity has been left humbled by a rise in food donations of 33 per cent from the public this year.
“People have always been encouraging and respond to our needs,” said Vicky. “We are appealing for supplies, but this is not just a short-term crisis.”
For a list of drop-off points where food supplies can be donated, go online to https://stourvalleyvineyard.org/storehouse.
More by this authorPriya Kingsley-Adam