Tons of free food coming in to help feed the needy

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NEARLY two tons of food will soon be available to feed families in Thetford who have fallen on hard times.

It is being distributed by the new town Foodbank which already has three quarters of a ton in stock with more on the way, including from its first supermarket collection, starting today at Tesco.

Customers are urged to buy an extra item to form essentials for families, such as pastas, tea, coffee, sugar, cereals, long life milk, canned meat and vegetables.

And Thetford Footbank, like others, is finding the call for emergency help is not just coming from the homeless or socially deprived, but even those who currently have jobs.

Manager Ali James said: “More and more people in jobs are facing specific problems, such as illness or an unexpected large bill.”

The Foodbank has already received community support with Brandon and District Rotary Club giving commercial food scales and collection boxes. More than 25 volunteers will help staff the distribution centre and warehouse as well as handing out leaflets at supermarkets.

At the moment, those in need are referred to the Foodbank by ‘frontline’ agencies such as Social Services and JobcentrePlus, who hand out vouchers.

Vouchers can be exchanged to give a family three days’ worth of food, which is distributed from the Foodbank, based at the Liberty Christian Family Centre, just off Stephenson Way.

This will be open tomorrow, Christmas Eve, from 10.30am to noon and on Boxing Day from 12.30-2pm and from then on Saturdays and Mondays.

Mrs James said: “We wanted to try to be open in time for Christmas because we’re aware that it’s a hard time for many, many families.

“The need just seems to be a growing social situation in the country, at a time when everyone’s finances are being squeezed. Whether it’s losing your job, the cuts in general, or just the rising cost of living, crisis situations such as an unexpected bill or longer-term illness can cause major problems for a family.”

Launched in August, donations so far have just come by word of mouth. Food has come ‘from the community, for the community’.

Run by volunteers, it is linked to a national network organised by a Christian organisation called the Trussell Trust.

Mrs James said: “As Christians, we want to put faith into action.”

Call the Foodbank on 01842 820825