Christmas donations help Horsham district foodbank feed 200 people

JPCT 290115 S15040654x Storrington food bank, at Family and Children Centre.  -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150129-111008001

JPCT 290115 S15040654x Storrington food bank, at Family and Children Centre. -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-150129-111008001

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The Horsham District Foodbank is opening another branch as a result of four tonnes of food being donated in the run-up to Christmas.

Horsham Matters started setting up foodbanks in the district a year ago and was one of the projects featured in the County Times Caring Christmas Campaign.

Co-ordinator Ruth Hodgson said that as a result of the publicity, they received enough food to help provide emergency three-day food parcels for 148 people, including 44 children.

Across its foodbanks in Storrington, Billingshurst and two in Horsham, they were also able to give 30 families Christmas parcels making sure 50 adults and 24 children did not go hungry over the holiday period.

This month a new foodbank will be opening at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Roffey and they would also like to develop advice services.

Ruth said: “I have been able to train 18 volunteers this week and many of them were due to the articles. I’m still looking for more.

“It was great. It really was. People were emailing me saying ‘I would like to get involved’.

“The minister at St Andrew’s is very keen to serve the community there and we feel people are more likely to use a foodbank if it’s near to them. There’s a real need in Horsham.

“We have fed a lot of people, but there are more people out there to feed and I’d like to hear from any other agencies which could refer people to us.

“We also need people who would be willing to do budget advice and job search advice and someone to work on our signposting files.”

In its first year it has helped nearly 1,000 people, including 280 children, with emergency food through referrals from agencies including the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, GPs and debt counsellors.

The team has trained 130 volunteers and counting.

Ruth said: “We would be unable to do any of this without food donations, the bulk of which come from twice yearly supermarket collections, supported by another 300 hours of volunteer time.

“It’s uplifting to see how committed and generous the foodbank volunteers are with their time.”

For more information about volunteering go to hor shamdistrict.foodbank.org.uk or call Horsham Matters on 01403 211833.