The charity helping Harrogate families put food on tables in the world's fifth richest country
Charities across the Harrogate district have had a tough couple of years due to the Covid-19 pandemic and we want to highlight those who need your help and support in 2022.
The Trussell Trust is a nationwide network of food bank centres which provide emergency food parcels to people in crisis.
In the Advertiser region, The Harrogate District Food Bank, supported by the trust, operates three distribution centres; the Starbeck food bank from the Life Destiny Church on High Street in Harrogate; at the Mowbray Community Church in Harrogate; and at the Holy Trinity Church, Knaresborough. From April 2021 to March 2022, the organisation – helped by its team of 88 volunteers – handed out 2,249 food parcels for adults and 1,245 parcels for children – a total of 3,503.
The team’s work includes the collection of non-perishable, in-date food donated by the public at a range of places, such as schools, churches, and businesses, as well as supermarket collection points.
Chef of Harrogate pub jailed after shooting teenage employee in the eye
Staff turnover 'uncomfortably high' at Harrogate council
Police seize 500 plants after uncovering cannabis farm in Harrogate
Harrogate-born long jumper controversially denied European Championships silver medal in Munich
Police seize class A drugs, machete and knife after stopping car near Harrogate
The volunteers then sort it into emergency food parcels to be given to people in crisis. Anyone referred to the service will receive three days worth of nutritionally balanced, non-perishable food.
The network also helps people break free from poverty by providing additional support so that they don’t need to use a food bank again in the future. This could include things like debt advice, mental health support, or benefits guidance.
Laura Chalmers, area manager for the Trussell Trust in Yorkshire, said: “Over the past decade we have seen a dramatic rise in the number of people forced to turn to a food bank.
“In 2010, food banks in our network distributed 60,000 food parcels, by 2021 this figure had risen to 2.5 million. And 980,000 of these parcels went to children. In the UK, the fifth richest country in the world, more than 14 million people live below the poverty line and are struggling to afford the essentials.
“We don’t want to exist, and we don’t think we should need to. No charity can replace the dignity of buying your own food. We need to ensure that everyone has enough money coming in to cover the cost of essentials, whether from secure work that pays real Living Wage or a benefits system that anchors people from being swept into poverty.”
As with many charities, the Trussell Trust, and the Harrogate District Foodbank, have been affected by the pandemic and more recently by the cost-of-living crisis.
The Harrogate facility is urgently in need of donations of strong carrier bags, tinned meat, tinned spaghetti, sweets and chocolates, sponge puddings, instant mash, milk powder, shower gel, male deodorant, toothbrushes and toilet roll. These can be dropped off at any of the three centres, at Waitrose on Station Parade or at Morrisons Starbeck.
Laura added: “With the cost-of-living crisis, food banks face the dual challenge of supporting greater numbers of people and potentially lower levels of donations, as they continue to plug the gaps in social security.
“The crisis has significantly increased the demand for food banks across the UK as many people’s incomes fail to keep pace with rising prices.
“The type of support needed, and type of people needing support, reflect a deepening and widening hardship in our communities. At the same time, some food banks are reporting lower stock levels, occurring partly as a result of fewer donations coming in.
“This combination of increased need and drop in donations is leading some food banks to be purchasing stock more than they would do normally, to ensure there are adequate supplies of all items that go into a food parcel.”
As with most charities, the trust relies on its volunteers. There are a wide range of volunteering opportunities across the network, from warehouse and delivery drivers to signposting volunteers and welcomers.
To enquire about volunteering in Harrogate, email [email protected] or call 07885 529864. To help financially by donating to the work of the Trussell Trust go to: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-involved/fundraise/ or alternatively, contact the Harrogate foodbank at [email protected] or 07885 529864.