THE Tameside East Foodbank desperately needs a new warehouse after outgrowing its current premises in Stalybridge.
And co-ordinator Heather Shepherd has issued an appeal to find new, larger premises where they can store tonnes of provisions and self-distancing will be easier to manage.Heather said: “If anybody has a warehouse which is lying empty, we would love to hear from you.
“Ideally it would be for free or a peppercorn rent as we are a charity.
“Should some benevolent owner let us use it for free, it would be amazing.”
Heather added that to rent premises would cost about £20,000 annually, a huge sum for a charity.
The warehouse would hold provisions for the foodbank’s three church outlets – St Matthew’s, Stalybridge; St John’s, Dukinfield; and New Life, Ashton.
It has been a hectic time for foodbanks in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.
Heather reports a 47 per cent increase on the comparable period last year, adding they have fed 2,500 people since the start of lockdown in March.
She added it has been challenging, especially after the loss of many elderly volunteers who were forced to self-isolate.
Heather said: “Rather than recruiting new volunteers, we have adapted to use less people.
“We have been working in small groups of three and four at one session.
“Should somebody test positive for Covid-19, we would then only have to find three or four new volunteers rather than losing everybody.”
Heather added they have managed to meet demand thanks to the generosity of Action Together, supermarkets Morrisons, Asda and Tesco as well as individuals.
“At one point we were almost out of stock, but we have managed to get by,” she said.
“Initially we lost some collecting points and there have been challenges.
“Lots of individuals have been in touch with donations, both financial and food. The response has been amazing.”
Heather explained there have been many heart-breaking stories with many using the foodbank for the first time.
And she related referrals in which people have told them they had not eaten for three days.
Heather said: “We shared one story on social media of a lady who had open heart surgery, was shielding and who had also been burgled.
“She had never used a foodbank before and was really grateful when she received her delivery.
“She rang to say she couldn’t believe what she received and the impact we make is massive.
“We hear lots of similar stories from people who have never used them before and came to us having had nothing to eat for days.”
• Anybody with an empty warehouse can contact Heather on 07396 507213 or firstname.lastname@example.org