Swale Food Bank is making emergency packs available to NHS workers amid a cost of living crisis

NHS workers collect food parcels from a food bank in Kent amid the cost of living crisis.

Ambulance drivers and nurses use Swale Foodbank’s charitable services, it turns out.

Nurses and ambulance drivers have turned to Swale Foodbank amid the cost of living crisis. picture in stock

This comes alongside a report released by Kent County Council (KCC) last week, which said food banks were struggling to cope with increasing demand for their services.

Esther Hurwood, project manager at Swale Foodbank, said: “People can only get by on what they have in their pay packet.

“We have to support them as some families have to support their children.”

Research has shown that Swale and Thanet in Kent has the most boroughs identified as energy crisis hotspots, ranking 44th and 52nd out of 331 local authorities in England and Wales.

With energy bills soaring, working families are starting to come through the doors of Swale Foodbank.

Esther Hurwood, Project Manager at Swale Foodbank.  Image: Steve Crispe
Esther Hurwood, Project Manager at Swale Foodbank. Image: Steve Crispe

This includes NHS workers, such as ambulance crews and nurses.

Ms Hurwood says growing demand for her services has been “strong” over the past six years since she volunteered with Swale Foodbank.

She said: “We have received some funding that we need to get us through the winter months.

“Food banks were never set up to have to buy groceries, but we have to do that now.

“We saw really desperate people coming through the doors.

“Now we see nurses and ambulance drivers.”

Swale Foodbank is now helping NHS workers.  Image: Steve Crispe
Swale Foodbank is now helping NHS workers. Image: Steve Crispe

Swale Foodbank works closely with Swale Borough Council and KCC, with both agencies providing funding.

The Board has four main centers in Swale, Net Church in East Street, Holy Trinity Parish Hall, Richmond Academy in Sheerness and Sittingbourne Baptist Church.

It was primarily used by homeless and unemployed residents when it opened, according to Ms Hurwood.

Swale Foodbank relies on food donations to keep the centers running, as well as community and government grants.

However, donations are running out, especially canned meat, fish, vegetables, milk and toiletries such as soap, shower gel, tissues and toilet paper.

Donations like vegetables are running out.  Image: Steve Crispe
Donations like vegetables are running out. Image: Steve Crispe

Mrs Hurwood is asking for more help.

“We are campaigning for donations at Swale Foodbank,” she said.

“Even during Covid donations were low as people couldn’t go out. They are lower now.”

To donate or contact the group for support, visit their website by clicking here.

Alternatively call 07486 370709.

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