By Tim Clarke 07/03 Updated: 08/03 14:11
A SHADOW cabinet minister discovered how a church-led project will help feed families and individuals facing food poverty.
Mary Creagh MP visited All Saints Church in Worcester where plans are taking shape for the city's first-ever foodbank.
The project is being spearheaded by church members Ann-Marie Ison and her husband Laurie, who felt moved to set up Worcester Foodbank to provide a lifeline to families and individuals who cannot afford to feed themselves.
People in need of support will be given vouchers by the Job Centre and other frontline services, which they will be able to hand over to the foodbank in exchange for non-perishable food items including tinned meals and fruit, juice and UHT milk.
Each voucher they receive will provide them with about three days worth of food.
More than 170 similar foodbanks have already sprung up across the country with the backing of the Christian organisation The Trussell Trust. This year they will help feed more than 100,000 people experiencing food poverty.
Mrs Ison said: "For a while we opened up our house to feed people that we knew and their friends but one day we thought it would really nice to feed people who don't have the luxuries of food and money.
"We didn't quite know how to do it but it was when we went to the Christian conference New Wine a couple of years ago we saw the Trussell Trust and it all fell into place. It is a really practical way of helping people in crisis. Things like redundancy are increasingly putting people into situations where they have no money and cannot afford to put food on the table."
Organisers have managed to raise about £10,000 so far towards the foodbank's running costs, through a variety of sources including other churches, charities and a grant from the Church Urban Fund.
But Mrs Ison said they needed about a tonne of food items before they could launch so were still in urgent need of donations of food and money to get the project up and running by April.
Speaking after her visit Mrs Creagh, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: "The profile of foodbanks is no longer about helping the homeless - it's now much more about dealing with families that are in crisis and between a half to a third of people they are feeding are children, which is a very sobering and distressing thought."
Anyone who would like to either volunteer or donate money or food items to Worcester Foodbank can email email@example.com or call 01905 734625.
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