Tameside hospital is the first in the UK to have a permanent food bank on site and have done this because of the significant increase during last year in suspected malnourished patients.
They are working with the Trussel Trust who have a network of food banks across East Tameside with over 400 emergency food banks nationwide providing emergency aid to those in crisis.
More than one in five, 21%, people in the North West have skipped meals, gone without food to feed family or relied on family and friends for food in new research released this week from Tesco.
“If there was no food bank I’d have to steal something to feed by family”, an anonymous food bank user from Dukinfield.
“You always think it wont happen to you…”, an annonymous food bank user from Stalybridge.
With a nationwide food collection at Tesco last year the equivalent of 2.4 million meals for people in need were donated.
This year Tesco are doing their Neighbourhood Food Collection throughout December.
Tesco in Stalybridge participated and their food collections where the public could donate food took place on 3, 4 and 5 December.
I spoke to Trisha Jarman who is the project manager for the Trussel Trust in East Tameside who said: “Some people gave trolly loads of food which is very humbling and each week the donation trolly is full which is fabulous for our organisation, whilst a small minority still disagree with the idea of food banks.
“Since 2014 on average we send 67.3 parcels to people per week, up 9% from last year, but since November we’ve had an increase of referrals which creates pressure on those in need and us for collecting the food.
“Christmas is a tough time and people need to know we’re here.”
Alison Bowe, 63 from Ashton Under Lyne is a volunteer with The Trussel Trust food bank said: “It’s such a great feeling giving back to the community.
Real people use our services and we make sure we deliver A* assistance to put them at ease through what could potentially be a tricky situation.”
Initially volunteers were all within the church community but with their project expanding as rapid as it has, the trust is now welcoming people from the general public to volunteer within their food bank donation, collection and distribution centers to keep numbers of volunteers up as referrals continue increasing.
To get involved you can apply via their website http://tamesideeast.foodbank.org.uk/get-involved or ring them on 01613397924.