Vital service stops 1,500 going hungry in cash crisis
AROUND 1,500 people, including children, have been given vital aid to help them over a short-term crisis by the Llanelli Foodbank, based in Myrtle House.
The significant milestone has been reached since the foodbank was launched in April 2011.
People are referred to the foodbank from all over Llanelli and the surrounding area by local agencies including social services, housing support services and the Red Cross, who assess their clients as being in a short-term crisis.
Foodbank co-ordinator Claire Childs said: “Many of these clients — approximately one third — are children, and it has taken just over nine tonnes of food to feed everyone sent to us since April.”
She said the foodbank would like to thank everyone who has donated food during this time, including many local churches, schools, places of employment and private individuals.
Ms Childs said: “Clients who have been fed are overwhelmed by the generosity of local people and leave not only with their three-day parcel of food but with some of their dignity and hope restored.
“One of the most encouraging things that helps clients is the knowledge that food is donated by local people who care for their community.”
The emergency aid is being dished out in Llanelli to prevent cash-starved families going hungry as the economic slump bites deeper. Those with money worries due to cuts in benefit, debt, homelessness, unemployment and sickness qualify for the aid and better-off families have been asked to help out.
Regional development officer for the Wales foodbank network, Adrian Curtis, said that throughout the UK last year 25,000 people received emergency food aid.
“There is a need in Llanelli. There are families who are going through crisis,” he said.
The food bank works by collecting tinned and dried food from the public through collections at supermarkets, schools, churches and firms.
Agencies such as benefits offices and domestic abuse services hold vouchers which can be exchanged for food.
The Llanelli food bank is run by Myrtle House Church, which has extensive experience in helping those in crisis through its successful Christians Against Poverty debt support project.
Bill Chapman of Myrtle House said: “We are very excited about the project.
“Our passion is to help those in crisis, and the foodbank, working alongside our Christians Against Poverty project, will deliver credible benefits to those in need.”
Due to high demand, the foodbank is holding a collection outside Tesco in Trostre on Saturday from 9am to 4pm.
Ms Childs said: “We always need supplies of in date tinned, dried and UHT foods and these can be donated on Saturday or dropped in at the Foodbank either during office hours at Myrtle House or between 10am and 1pm at the Foodbank within Myrtle House’s grounds.”