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Foodbank is now helping more families.

A NEW foodbank set up to help struggling families put food on their tables have welcomed their 200th member.

Since opening 13 weeks ago, a total of 2.1tonnes of food has been handed out to folk in Gateshead in emergency food parcels.

More than 100 volunteers have worked around the clock to provide the front-line service to 210 people, 52 of who were children, since just before Christmas.

And secretary of Beacon Lough Baptist Church Ian Britton, who is part of the Gateshead Foodbank, said the demand for emergency food is growing each week.

He said: "The figures are quite a revelation. Thirteen weeks ago we started with nothing and now we are feeding 210 people. The number of people we are feeding goes up each week and we are distributing food all over Gateshead.

"People have come from all 15 wards, and it's not just people in the inner city.

"We didn't know how much of a demand there would be in Gateshead, but information showed there was need for a foodbank. We are now getting more professionals coming forward asking for our help."

Figures obtained by organisers show that more people living in Deckham have used the food bank than anywhere else in the borough, when 19 adults and 16 children from the ward using the service.

In Lobley Hill and Bensham 23 adults and nine children have also been handed emergency food.

Organisers said the majority of people living in Gateshead had turned to the foodbank when there had been a delay in their benefits or changes to their benefits.

Figures also showed that low income and debt were among the reasons for folk using the foodbank.

Volunteer Carol Thompson said the service had been used by all sorts of people.

She said: "We have had families and couples using the foodbank. After paying monthly bills, a lot people just find that they don't have any money left to afford food.

"Some don't even have a cooker so we have to adapt what we give them.

"On occasions before Christmas, we had families who couldn't afford any food over the festive period. We gave them the parcels and they were just overwhelmed by the support."

The food bank, run by volunteers from churches in Gateshead, works with care professionals, GPs and the Citizens Advice Bureau to distribute food to those families in need in the town. They provide three days of emergency food to people who find themselves in need.

The foodbank, which was opened last November, has now been running for 13 weeks.

For more information, call 0191 487 0898 or email info@gateshead.foodbank.org.uk

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HELPERS Workers enjoys a break at the foodbank

DONATIONS Volunteers bring supplies into Gateshead Foodbank
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 20, 2013
Words:459
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