An army of volunteers have helped Larne Foodbank supply up to 90 hampers to ensure needy families don’t go hungry this Christmas.
Between January and the end of November this year, big-hearted locals donated almost 10 tonnes of food and toiletries to the local organisation, enabling it to provide three days of emergency food to 743 people, of whom 176 were children.
Earlier this week, staff from the Trussell Trust facility joined with Christians Against Poverty (CAP) and the Salvation Army for a mammoth Christmas hamper packing session with items supplied by local schools, charities and individuals.
Chair of Larne Foodbank Alex Munro paid tribute to the kindness of local people, who have supported those less fortunate throughout the year.
“The generosity of the people in the Larne area enables us to meet the need and we want to say a big thank you to you all,” he stated.
“We are so grateful to the people of the Larne area who have donated 9733 kilograms of food and toiletry items from January 1 2016 to November 30 2016.
“Of that 69 per cent has come from churches, 7.5 per cent from local schools, seven per cent from customers of local businesses, two per cent from individuals, 3.5 per cent from local charities and organisations and 11 per cent from anonymous donors.
“The people who will receive the hampers have all been referred to us by the many organisations who help those in crisis all year round and with whom we have very good working relationships.
“Our thanks to them for the wonderful work they do.
“We particularly thank one anonymous couple who have thoughtfully made up 10 hampers filled with all the food we take for granted on Christmas Day, things like Christmas cake, mince pies, chocolates, Christmas pudding and ham.
Alex says that there are “varied” reasons for people accessing the foodbank.
“The biggest reason is low income,” he explained.
“Imagine yourself on a zero hour contract and find you are not needed in work for a couple of weeks, how would you manage?
“This is followed by homelessness, and we are grateful to the organisations in Larne that help those in this position, such as the Simon Community and Larne Community Crisis Housing.
“Then there are benefit changes and delays, and again we are so grateful for the work that Mid and East Antrim’s Citizens’ Advice Bureau do to help those who need advice.
“Debt is another cause of food poverty and it is so important that CAP are available here in Larne to help with those who seek their assistance.”
Alex said that the foodbank’s work would be impossible without the tireless support of volunteers
“There is a team of over 60 volunteers in Larne Foodbank who give of their time week by week, as well as poeople in our community who donate food and toiletry items, and professionals who make the referrals, and help those in need,” he continued.
“All this doesn’t just happen, it takes team work.”
To donate food to Larne Foodbank, simply leave it at a collection point such as NFU Mutual on Main Street, Crafty Copy, Spar Ballygally, ASDA Larne, Mulholland’s Funeral Home Larne or McCoubrey and Woodside.
Alternatively, food can be dropped off directly at the foodbank at Craigyhill Methodist Church on Monday mornings from 6am-10am.
To volunteer at the foodbank, email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 02828277530.