I met with volunteers at West Northumberland Food bank yesterday. I thanked them for their ongoing work to help those most in need. They were busy but still found time to discuss the issues around food bank use in the Hexham constituency. The visit was an emotional one; gratitude for the work being done, upset at seeing parcels packed with baby food and anger that food banks seem to be replacing the safety net that our government has a duty to provide.
Redundancy, illness, welfare reform, rising costs and falling incomes are still the main reasons people are forced to turn to food banks. Since opening in 2013 West Northumberland food bank has responded to over 1200 requests for help from individuals and families in crisis, operating over a rural area, where the effects of poverty can be particularly isolating.
Their work, in providing a safety net to those in greatest need is unfortunately vital, not only at Christmas but throughout the year.
Donations can be left at Tesco and Waitrose in Hexham and the Cooperative supermarkets in Prudhoe and Haltwhistle.