Denbigh Food Bank helps the county's poorest


Kirstie Dolphin

EVERYDAY people go hungry for different reasons and Denbigh is leading the way to help feed the county’s poorest.

To give someone a lifeline sometimes a tin of soup, rice pudding or tin of tomatoes can be enough.

Denbigh Foodbank provides a minimum of three days emergency food and support to people in poverty or who are experiencing a crisis.

Lowri Smith, who works at Citizen Advice Bureau is a trustee and secretary at Denbigh Foodbank, and explains why the area is in need of this new service.

“The idea of establishing a foodbank within Denbigh originated from work I did at Denbigh Citizens Advice around Christmas time,” she said.

“And I knew if there was one person in the area who was struggling to put food on the table there must be more.

“Initially the foodbank will help clients in the Denbigh area only, but we have said from the beginning that we will expand to where there is a need.”

The foodbank joined the Trussell Trust Network of Foodbanks in May and was officially opened by Denbigh Mayor Raymond Bartley for clients on October 5, 2012.

The doors are open to anyone who is deemed in crisis for a variety of different reasons, from bereavement, redundancy to benefit delay.

But clients must be directed to the foodbank via frontline services including doctors, support workers, Citizens Advice and schools, who will give the person in need a voucher.

They can then exchange the voucher for three days worth of food at Denbigh’s Foodbank.

“Since I began working on the foodbank idea I have had a number of Citizens Advice staff and volunteers notify me of clients who are struggling and would also be eligible to benefit from the foodbank,” says Lowri.

“We see a number of clients in similar situation every week at Citizens Advice.”

The foodbank will be open on Monday and Friday from 10.30am to 1.30pm and is located at Capel Mawr (on chapel street).

“I want to thank the volunteers for all they’ve done in opening Denbigh Food Bank.
But the fact that some in our community have been plunged into poverty through no fault of their own is heart-breaking,” said Vale of Clwyd AM, Ann Jones.

“As the cost of living continues to rise and people face the impossible decision between eating and heating, between buying food and paying the rent I’m pleased to represent a community that, when they see neighbours and friends in need; they come together.

“Unfortunately, we have an out-of-touch Tory-led coalition government in Westminster, making things worse, not better,” she added.

Denbigh Foodbank have distributed over 60 plastic collection boxes to local organisations including churches, chapels and local community associations.

“These groups will collect food for us,” said Lowri.

“When they are full we arrange for someone to collect the donated food. So far the response has been fantastic.”

Volunteers at the foodbank will be participating in a supermarket collection in Ruthin Tesco on December 1 and 2 from 10am until 4pm.

Customers will be encouraged to donate an item which is on the foodbank shopping list which consists of three days of nutritional balanced non-perishable food.

“We have held supermarket collections at Sainsbury's in Rhyl and Co-op in Denbigh,” said Lowri.

“We made 17 boxes of food from Denbigh’s Co-op which is amazing for such a small store.

“On both occasions the response was overwhelmingly positive. Thank you to all who donated food,” she added.

Carol and Paddy Henderson founded The Trussell Trust in 1997 to improve conditions for homeless Bulgarian children.

In 2000 after being contacted by a woman in the UK who was in crisis Paddy started the first foodbank in Salisbury in his garden shed.

The UK foodbank network was launched in 2004 teaching churches and communities nationwide how to start their own foodbank.

Volunteers are still needed at the Denbigh Foodbank to help with deliveries, to meet clients, to fundraise and help with supermarket collections.

For more information or to volunteer email or pop into Denbigh Foodbank on Chapel Street.

See full story in the Free Press

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