Over 760 people fed by Larne Foodbank

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Larne Foodbank has collected almost 15 tonnes of food and assisted over 760 people in crisis since its inception last year, it has been revealed.

The service, which launched in March 2013, is designed to help those who are struggling to feed themselves and their families.

A number of local churches joined forces to set up the initiative, which provides free food to people in desperate need.

And since the scheme was established, it has gone from strength to strength, with donations of food continuing to pour in from across the borough and beyond.

Foodbank volunteer Alan Turner told the Larne Times: “The generosity of the general public of Larne and surrounding districts has been really impressive.

“In total we received 14.5 tonnes of food – thank you to all who donated.

“During our first year the foodbank has provided emergency food to 764 individuals – one third of whom where children.

“We also have an excellent team of over 30 volunteers who sort and store the food and who are involved in meeting and distributing food to clients.

“Without these volunteers the foodbank would not operate.

“It has been a humbling experience for those in distribution who meet those in need.”

The foodbank scheme, supported by the Trussell Trust – the UK’s only food bank network – relies on donations of non-perishable food.

Churches throughout the town act as donation points, and the food is then collected, weighed and prepared for distribution on designated days .

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

The charity works in partnership with agencies in the town and clients are referred via various organisations.

Despite the huge number of people Larne foodbank has assisted over the past 14 months, Alan said it still has the capacity to do more.

He added: “We are not convinced that all those in need of food in Larne are coming to the foodbank.

“Ann McKeown has recently been appointed as referrer Co-ordinator and she will be seeking to encourage referrers to send clients to us.”

Larne foodbank received a major boost when Mayor Maureen Morrow selected it as her designated charity.

Alan added: “She has promoted the foodbank vigorously and organised a most successful concert in First Larne Presbyterian Church.

“She has channelled monies to the foodbank from various sources and we are most grateful for her support.”