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MP launches new food bank
4:10pm Thursday 22nd November 2007 in News
STOURBRIDGE MP Lynda Waltho officially launched a new Stourbridge initiative to help feed people in crisis.
Members of Chawn Hill Church have set up the Stourbridge Food Bank - which provides a three-day emergency supply of food to needy families and individuals.
Those in need can obtain vouchers via professional, voluntary and statutory sectors - which they can cash in for a temporary supply of tinned and dried foods at the food bank.
Designed as a short-term measure to give people going through a crisis breathing space to sort themselves out, it is backed by the offer of assistance from other agencies to help tackle the root cause of the problems.
To date - it has fed between 200 to 300 people, aged six weeks old to over 65, the majority of which are experiencing benefit delays, on very low incomes or have found themselves homeless.
Lynda said: "This is an excellent initiative designed to give those who need it a breathing space, I am very happy to support all those at Chawn Hill who have rolled up their sleeves to help in this way and I support their call for donations of food, volunteers or money to assist their cause."
Wendy Fryatt, Stourbridge Food Bank co-ordinator said: "Our church-based social action is turning over and revealing levels of need across the borough of Dudley that are worrying.
"We're not trying to do anyone else's job and we are not a replacement for any of the agencies, but more of a supplement where there is a delay or blip. "We hope that by giving people three days food, they gain a little breathing space while the underlying crises are dealt with.
"With the homeless we also aim to provide a few of those important toiletries that most of us take for granted."
She said the scheme can be accessed through many agencies around the borough including Age Concern, The Lighthouse Projects, Connexions, The What? Centre, Dudley College, Church Pastoral Teams and Citizens Advice Bureaux and others.
She added: "As long as the need has been recognised by one of the voucher holding agencies, we make no judgements or discriminations."
Des Tilby, chairman of the Food Bank Steering Group, added: "It's a real privilege to be part of an initiative providing practical help to individuals and families in crisis. Food Bank will I'm sure go from strength to strength as it serves the borough of Dudley."
Anyone able to donate tinned and dried goods can call 01384 441519 or 01384 397287.