Telford Food Bank faces an ‘uphill battle’ as donations dwindle and demand rises

Some stark facts brought out this week tell of the struggles they face. The panel, run by Telford Crisis Support from a unit in Halesfield, provides meals for people who are registered as unemployed or need the service for financial reasons.

But operations manager Simon Lellow says the charity is paying in £1,000 a week from its own cash reserves because donations dwindle.

Last week the shelves had one can of soup compared to 2020 during lockdown when a unit they used to store in Sutton Hill had 2,000.

This year they have already served 93,000 meals by the beginning of August – in 2020 it was 90,000 for the whole year.

Not only canned and other food donations are small, but so are cash donations to the charity it depends on to keep it going.

Simon said: “It’s a difficult time for everyone, and that includes us, because the first thing that goes when people need to tighten their belts is either luxury or donations to charities. People only have the money to buy the bare essentials.

“We thought the Covid years were going to be the maximum ever in terms of the bad stuff, but we actually did better than we do now in terms of food on shelves two years ago.

“The cost of living crisis is hitting really hard now and has been for several months. We are facing an uphill battle right now to keep the service going.

“Actually, we ship more than twice as much food as we receive, and that’s not sustainable.

“We need to increase our food reserves significantly. We used to be in a position where we had a floating supply of staples like canned beans and soup, but that’s not the case now.

“I call it the gluttony and hunger effect, where either too much or too little comes in. It also appears that as hardship increases, goodwill falls as people struggle to pay their own bills and support their own families, let alone being responsible for others.

“We’re lucky to be able to call on those reserves, but obviously they’re not endless and it’s not an ideal situation to work them down.

Lynn Cooper of Telford Help Ukraine is another person representing a group feeling the effects of the crisis.

She said donations to the group, which regularly sends “mercy missions” to the war-torn country and also supports Ukrainian citizens coming to Shropshire, have been down, she said.

She said: “People can only give so much and there’s also the problem that people think the situation is getting better there, but understandably at the moment people can only afford the bare essentials for themselves and with heating costs rising that could get worse.”

The group will meet with Ludlow MP Philip Dunne near Bridgnorth on Tuesday to build a support network for Ukraine and its citizens in the south of the Borough.

Telford Crisis Support has recently been reinforced with Dawley estate agents Morgan Payne Knightly acting as the fundraiser for the plaque – the charity also runs a school uniform project and baby back – for full details go to www.telfordcrisissupport.org.uk.

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