HUNDREDS of people have been given a helping hand with a box of food over the past year.
The Havant Food Bank has seen a huge rise in the number of referrals.
Now, the food bank, which is based in the Meridian Centre in Havant, will be supported by The News’ Christmas Food Appeal.
There were 915 referrals in 2013/14 compared with just 358 in 2012/13. That’s a rise of 155 per cent in a year.
Volunteer Ruth Scott said there are many reasons for the increase in need in the community.
‘There are an awful lot of changes in benefits. Where someone changes from one type of benefits to another, there’s a delay.
‘There are a lot of administration issues in the system.
‘Other people suffered from domestic abuse.’
And Ruth said Christmas can be a very difficult time for people who are struggling.
‘It’s a very emotional time of year,’ she said.
‘Everyone is talking about what they are doing at Christmas and it’s easy for people to feel isolated.
‘For us it’s a good time because people are willing to give at Christmas because they think of others more at this time than they do at the rest of the year.’
Donations at Christmas time help the food bank to run throughout the year.
Ruth added: ‘That helps to increase our stock.
‘We notice a big drop in donations in the new year.
‘There is a big increase going up to Christmas. People are very generous.
‘We rely on their generosity and we are amazed by it.
‘There was one young chap who was five years old.
‘He said he didn’t want toys and he wanted money to go to people who didn’t have any food. That’s amazing.’
Supermarkets across the area have agreed to support the appeal.
All we ask is that you buy an extra item when you go shopping and put it in our trolley on the way out.
The food will then be distributed to food banks, refuges and shelters.
This year, the Havant Food Bank is expecting to give out 100 Christmas hampers.
And Ruth said it’s heartwarming to see how grateful people are when they receive a hamper of food.
‘People are overwhelmed because they are generous hampers,’ she said.
‘People are just so grateful to be helped and not forgotten.
‘There’s an element of embarrassment but they are grateful not to be forgotten.’
The food bank needs cardboard boxes to be donated to pack up the Christmas Hampers. Please donate at the centre.
Food bank locations
Here are the locations of the area’s major food banks
- Fareham and Gosport Basics
Monday - 1pm to 3pm
Wednesday - 1pm to 3pm
Friday - 1pm to 3pm
Westbury Road, Fareham,
- Portsdown Community Church
Weekday mornings 10am to
The Beacon, 69-73 Meridian Centre, Havant, PO9 1UN
(023) 9247 0167
n Waterlooville Food Bank
Monday - 9.30am to 11.30am
Friday - 12pm to 2pm
Wecock Church, Kite Close,
- Salvation Army Portsmouth
Monday - Friday 10am to 3pm
17 Lake Road
(023) 9229 3793
- Pompey in the Community
Monday - Friday 9am to 5pm
Anson Road, Fratton,
(023) 9272 8899
Shopping list (the most wanted items of food)
- Christmas cake
- Mince pies
- Christmas pudding
- Hot chocolate
- Tinned fruit
- Tinned vegetables
- Baked beans
- UHT milk
- Powdered milk
- Tinned soup
- Soup in a packet
- Tinned tomatoes
- Tinned pudding
- Tea and coffee
- Instant mash
- Tinned meats/tuna
- Long-life fruit juice
- Tinned curry