AFTER several successful collections at local supermarkets, Churches Together in Droitwich has launched a foodbank in the town.
The foodbank is being organised with the Trussell Trust to help people in dire financial need in the area by giving out food parcels.
In order to receive food from the foodbank, residents must first get in touch with a frontline professional, which can be anyone from doctors, health visitors, social workers, Citizens Advice Bureau staff, welfare officers, or the police and probation officers, and if they’re deemed to be in need, they receive a voucher which can be exchanged for food parcels.
The Rev Jane Wilson, from Droitwich Methodist Church is on the steering committee for the new foodbank.
She said: “It’s meant to be food that gets people out of a crisis, it’s not meant to be an ongoing thing, and then the organisers signpost them onto ways out of their crisis.”
The Trussell Trust, an independent Christian organisation, collects information on the number of people using its foodbanks and the reasons, feeding that information back to the government in an attempt to help them understand poverty in the UK.
The most significant reasons given for using foodbanks are delays in receiving benefits, and people who have jobs, but still find they aren’t earning enough because of things like zero hours contracts.
The Rev Wilson added: “We’ve been to look at the foodbanks in Worcester and Malvern, and we’re in talks with the one in Catshill, because originally we weren’t sure of the need. In a sense I’m surprised there’s a need anywhere in Britain. I’d love us not to need foodbanks.
“In Droitwich there’s a relative level of affluence, but beneath that people are suffering. I think the benefit sanctions seem to have had an effect. That’s what we’re hearing from other foodbanks.
“We’ve done four supermarket collections locally at Waitrose, Morrisons and Aldi in the town. People have been generous, but they’ve also expressed surprise that we need one.
All of the local agencies were so supportive and really willing to get on board. There are lots of people who aren’t Christians who’ve got involved, and we’ve had requests from local organisations to say ‘can we have a collection point in our building?’
“We were pleasantly surprised by the number of people who said ‘oh yes we can have a collection point’, and not just in Droitwich, in the outlying villages too. One of the messages we got from the Worcester foodbank was that we’d probably be serving more than Droitwich.”
Currently there will be collection points set up in Lloyds and Barclays bank, and the foodbanks is in talks to install one in the library. There’s also one in Vax on the industrial estate, Physique Gym, and in all the local churches.
The foodbank will be opening every Monday from 12-2pm and every Thursday from 2-4pm at The Old Library Centre on Ombersley Street East. For more information, visit droitwichspa.foodbank.org.uk or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.