Scousers go above and beyond for the council’s foodbank challenge

It really is a heart as BIG as Liverpool this Christmas as the city has given their all for the Mayor’s Hope Fund appeal to help feed people in need this Christmas.

The council threw open the doors of public buildings, libraries, leisure centres and offices for them to be used as collection points for the annual festive foodbank appeal.

The call went out for donations of tins, packets, cartons and festive treats that could be used by the North and South Liverpool Foodbanks to make up much-needed crisis parcels. And the response from residents and city council staff was nothing short of magnificent.

Whilst the exact amount of food collected is still being tallied, foodbank officials believe it could very well be more than four times as much as last year.

The last collection netted 1.5 tonnes of food, this year so far the amount is up to six tonnes, which will help to feed more than 1,000 people in the months ahead.

Simon Huthwaite, who is Operations Manager of St Andrew’s Community Network, said: “There has been a wonderful response to the foodbank appeal. Last year we carried a van full of food back to our warehouse from the main collection point at The Cunard Building. This year it could be as many as four.”

“We have seen a real spike in the number of people coming to use for help and there have been times this year when we have been concerned that we could run out of food but now, thanks to this appeal we will be able to keep children and families fed well into the new year.”

The two foodbanks belong to the Trussell Trust network and are based at St Andrew’s Community Network (North Liverpool) and Bridge Chapel Centre (South Liverpool).

Simon says that both foodbanks are already 10 per cent busier than last year.

Food parcels contain enough for a family to eat for three days, along with essential items such as toiletries and nappies.

Mr Huthwaite says: “We have noticed an increase in demand for food parcels due to the roll-out of Universal Credit in Liverpool. Families are under a lot of pressure so knowing that there will be food on the table is one less thing for them to worry about.”

He added: ““We are very grateful to Mayor Anderson and the wonderful council staff for orchestrating this collection and working so hard. We are also indebted to the people of Liverpool who have pulled together once again to help us combat food poverty in the city.”

So far this financial year across the city, Trussell Trust Foodbanks have fed over 13,000 people, more than a quarter of these are children.

The appeal was spearheaded by Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson, as part of a host of support available for people in need.

Through the Mayor’s Hope Fund, around 900 families with a child under one in receipt of housing benefit or council tax support will be able to claim a £20 voucher to help them with their fuel bills. A further 150 care leavers who live independently will get a £30 voucher. And the most vulnerable families will receive a special festive food hamper.

Mayor Anderson said: “This is a tremendous response to our appeal that really does typify the spirit of generosity that runs through our city. Times may be hard for everyone but once again the people of this city and the council’s own fantastic workforce have risen to the challenge and have done us all proud.”

“It means that a lot of families will have one less thing to worry about this Christmas, however the fight for a fairer deal for the people of Liverpool continues all year round.”

“We will continue to do everything we can to support the most vulnerable members of our community and we know that the residents of this city will be with us every step of the way.”

“I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the foodbank appeal, you have made a real difference.”

The Liverpool foodbanks are now seeking volunteers to help to distribute the food to families in need. If you have a couple of hours to spare, you can call: 0151 226 3406,  or email the North Liverpool Foodbank at simonh@standrewslive.org.uk or the South Liverpool Foodbank at admin@slfoodbank.org

You can continue to support the foodbanks by donating food to the North Liverpool Foodbank offices at 16 Larkhill L13 9BR, or at the South Liverpool Foodank at Bridge Chapel Centre, Heath Road, L19 4XR, or at any local supermarket.

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