On Sunday Rachel and Pudsey candidate Jamie Hanley attended a launch service for the Leeds (West) Food Bank at the Oak Church in Farsley.
The Food Bank distribution centre opened on 27th January 2014. Their aim is to open a new distribution centre every 3 months throughout 2014 - Bramley next, followed by Farnley, Stanningley and Pudsey. The Food Bank have already supported 280 people in the West Leeds area this year so far.
They also supported local Children’s Centres, schools and services for older people in December 2013, by providing them with emergency food parcels to give to their clients and in doing so mobilised more than 60 local people who volunteered to make up the parcels, and the food fed around 350 local people.
The launch service was an informal event, with songs, dancing and tea and cakes for attendees who were made up of church members, Food Bank volunteers, Food Bank users and associated organisations. Lucy Pitkin, who set up the Food Bank, gave an inspiring talk and shared stories of Food Bank users and volunteers, recalling the time an elderly woman used her last 17p to buy a tin of peas to donate to the Food Bank during a collection event at Tesco.
"It was really great to celebrate the opening of the Food Bank with The Oak church. Lucy and all the volunteers have done amazing work to get this project off the ground and support families and individuals in need.
Of course, it is a terrible shame that people are having to rely on food banks in such large numbers at all. It is not right. I have people regularly contacting my office who are unable to afford food for themselves and their families due to benefit delays and sanctions, or simply because their wages are not high enough to make ends meet. The government should not be letting this happen"
The Food Bank are looking for volunteers, see below for information if you would like to get involved.