Charity’s wish list for food parcels and Christmas hampers after rise in foodbank demand

Elaine Channen and Amanda Bloomfield, of Gatehouse, are appealing for food items for the charity's food parcels and Christmas hampers. Picture: Mark Westley.
Elaine Channen and Amanda Bloomfield, of Gatehouse, are appealing for food items for the charity's food parcels and Christmas hampers. Picture: Mark Westley.
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A Bury St Edmunds charity has drafted a wish list of items for food parcels and Christmas hampers following a dramatic spike in demand for its foodbank.

Gatehouse, in Dettingen Way, issued 170 food parcels in the last 10 weeks, compared to 99 over the same period last year.

It is the greatest demand for the charity’s foodbank since it launched four years ago and they are now in need of items to replenish their stocks.

Amanda Bloomfield, chief executive of Gatehouse, said: “What we’re looking for is donations of tinned and packeted food - specifically tinned meat, tinned vegetables and pasta sauces.”

Mrs Bloomfield said donating just one or two tins of food a week can make a ‘such a difference’ to the lives of those who find themselves in an ‘emergency situation’.

Julia Wakelam, chair of Gatehouse, said she was ‘not the slightest bit surprised’ by the increased demand as ‘wages continue to be depressed in the area, benefits have been slashed and the pressure on household budgets is huge’.

Jane Ballard, district manager for Suffolk West Citizens Advice Bureau, said they have seen a ‘steady number of clients’ needing food parcels which ‘usually increases over the summer months due to additional holiday expenses, particularly for families with children’. She anticipates the roll-out of the universal credit full service next month will also have a ‘significant impact’.

Gatehouse is also appealing for items for the 400 Christmas hampers it distributes.

It needs 400 Christmas puddings, 400 boxes of teabags, 1,600 tins of beans, 1,600 tins of soup, 800 cans of tuna, 400 tins of potatoes, 400 packets of stuffing, 800 pasta sauce jars and 400 bars of chocolate.

Items can be donated at the charity’s office, in Dettingen Way, as well as Waitrose, Asda and Tesco, in Bury St Edmunds, and the East of England Co-op Foodstores, in Out Risbygate, Bury and The Street, Woolpit.