A statement from a trustee of the Downham Market foodbank:
Our foodbank is part of a national network of foodbanks across the U.K. It is an anti-poverty charity founded on Christian values of compassion, respect, dignity and justice. Among the many reasons why people need the help of a foodbank are: We don't just give out food - volunteers provide a warm friendly, non-judgemental environment. On average a foodbank user has only £50 a week after rent to pay for food, travel, utility bills and clothing. We talk to and listen to clients and signpost them to where to
get help, for example Citizens Advice who will guide them on the way to manage their money and navigate the benefit system. Also, we can put them in contact with charities such as Age UK and Mind.
A voucher is needed for food, and these can be obtained from G.P's, Schools, Probation service, health visitors and Social Services. The food provided is nutritionally balanced. Provision is for
three days emergency food which is a stop-gap, enabling families and individuals to cope through a particular crunch time. It is expected that three vouchers are all that is needed while long term solutions are put in place.
We operate in an area of relative wealth mixed with extreme poverty, where many of the essential services such as the Department of Works and Pensions, Job Centre etc are half an hour away by bus or train, which is a significant physical and financial barrier for those already
experiencing hardship. Food bank users often come into our building feeling ashamed, angry, humiliated, scared and desperate. Our aim is that they leave with dignity, relief and the beginnings of some peace of mind.
Currently the food bank urgently needs:
TINNED FRUIT (400GMS)
UHT MILK (1 LITRE)
CAT/DOG FOOD (DRY)
The Food Bank does not need:
Pasta or Baked Beans or Tomato Soup