Support for foodbanks

MOSSLEY Foodbank has coped with a spike in demand despite a decline in donations in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Every person who has contacted the foodbank has received a food parcel,” explained volunteer Cllr Jack Homer.He pointed out in the last week in April the foodbank was as busy as it ever has been, even at Christmas which is traditionally a chaotic period.

Mossley Foodbank prefers to make deliveries rather than people coming to collect food parcels because of the social distancing guidelines.

The foodbank, which is at Mossley Youth Base, has been lifted by receiving fresh fruit and vegetables from Action Together.

However, they have a shortage of tinned meat and tinned vegetables and have made an appeal for more donations of these items.

There is a drop-off point at Mossley Co-op or they can be left at the youth base at The Rowans.

Cllr Homer explained the closure of Emmaus and St Joseph’s Church, both drop-off points, was largely responsible for the reduction in donations.

He added when he initially went to supermarkets to stock up he was confronted with empty aisles, especially for tinned items.

“We had a dip at the start of lockdown, but things have picked up, but we don’t have as many donations as before,” he said.

Cllrs Homer and Frank Travis and the Rev David Warner, vicar at St George’s, have assembled an army of 30 volunteers.

The idea was to contact people in isolation, primarily the elderly and sick, and for them to do errands.

Fortunately, the demand has not been as great as anticipated.

Cllr Homer added the volunteers are prepared the long haul and would like to hear from anybody in need of help.

Meanwhile, generous Dentonians have contributed more than £2,000 in cash as well as a mountain of food to ensure those in need do not go short during the coronavirus crisis.

It has enabled the St Mary’s Haughton Green Foodbank to meet a “significant increase in demand”.

“Demand has made it the busiest time the foodbank has ever experienced. We have had requests for food parcels from Birmingham and Glasgow with people not realising we are a Tameside charity,” explained Cllr Jack Naylor.

He explained demand at foodbanks nationally has almost doubled.

“I don’t have a percentage locally, but it is fair to say St Mary’s has had a significant increase,” he continued.

“Once people were aware of the challenge here, the response has been excellent.”

A JustGiving page was set up alongside the doorstep collections and distribution of food parcels.

Denton South councillors Naylor, George Newton and Claire Reid have been co-ordinating doorstep collections.

“We visit about 50 households every time we go out and that fills three cars,” explained Cllr Naylor who described the response to their appeal as “amazing”.

Cllr Naylor admitted there were huge challenges to overcome initially when lockdown was announced.

He said: “At the start of lockdown an urgent appeal was made.

“Obviously there was a lot of panic buying and shortages in supermarkets where you were not allowed to buy in bulk.”

As a solution, doorstep collections were organised with bags left out by residents.

Cllr Naylor added there is a need to check on the wellbeing of elderly neighbours living alone who may be isolated.

He said loneliness is a major issue and councillors are working with the Anthony Seddon Trust which is running the Get Motivated For Mental Health campaign.

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