How Larne Foodbank makes a difference

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Are you - or someone you know - in a desperate situation where you just cannot afford to put anything to eat on the table?

There can be many reasons why an individual or a family find themselves in crisis, including unemployment, benefit problems, relationship break-up, illness, domestic violence, homelesslness and debt.

So, where can people in this situation turn for the most basic of help - food?

Larne Foodbank - launched earlier this year - may be their best and most immediate solution.

The service is designed to help people who are struggling to feed themselves and their families.

It was set up by a number of local churches coming together to provide free food to those in crisis for whatever reason.

The scheme, supported by the Trussell Trust, relies on donations of non-perishable food.

A minimum of three days emergency food is then passed on free to those in need.

Alan Turner, coordinator of Larne Foodbank, said this week that some people in need may still be unaware of the scheme or how it works.

“Food vouchers from Larne Foodbank are held by some social workers, community police, some politicians, many churches, doctors’ surgeries, Christians Against Poverty, Citizen’s Advice Bureau, the Simon Community, Victim Support and Women’s Aid,” he explained.

“Where an individual, or a family, hits a crisis then one of the above organisations may complete a food voucher for them.”

When a voucher is brought to the foodbank - based in Craigyhill Methodist Church and supported by many churches in the area - it is exchanged for sufficient food for a balanced diet for three days.

Mr Turner explained that while the recipients are waiting in the foodbank for their food parcels to be made up, they are offered tea or coffee, a biscuit and a friendly chat with a foodbank volunteer.

“Religion is not actively pursued, but where a client requests it, or the opportunity presents itself, a short prayer may be offered,” he said.

A return visit for further food may be made on the issue of a new voucher.

The foodbank will offer food up to three times in six months to those in need.

All the food given out through the Larne Foodbank has been donated, is in-date and non-perishable.

Like all Trussell Trust foodbanks, the food parcels given out in Larne have been designed by dieticians to provide recipients with nutritionally-balanced food.