Numbers of food bank users rising
THE number of people seeking help at local food banks is climbing, revealing that even those in work are now struggling to make ends meet.
A piece of intensive ‘snapshot’ research by Community Action Hampshire has shown that more low income working families are turning to food banks for help. A survey spokesman said: “Many are working, but have had cuts in hours, or had to take on part-time jobs instead of full-time employment.”
Petersfield Food Bank manager Brian Edwards said the survey was an accurate reflection of those collecting food from the Salvation Army Hall in Swan Street.
He said: “The last couple of months have been busier than expected. We have all ages from all walks of life, including those working but on low incomes, come to us for food.”
One heartrending case was an elderly couple who broke down in tears when they collected their food parcel.
Mr Edwards said those who had worked all their lives didn’t expect to need help just to eat in retirement.
He said: “What worries me most is how many people we can’t reach, how many are too proud to come for help. “We are here for everyone, so please come and see us if you need to.”
Reverend Deborah Scott-Bromley of St Mark’s Church in the Forest Centre in Bordon said that since May, 68 children and 80 adults, some of them desperate low paid working parents, have been helped.
She said: “Some are on low salaries, or benefits and a small number live rough in the woods around Bordon.”
Both she and Mr Edwards endorse other findings in the survey, which reveals a huge increase in Hampshire food bank users recently. It says hardship in relatively prosperous Hampshire is often masked by an overall affluence and broad brush statistics which don’t show the hardship faced by some families. And far from milking the system, one manager said they have trouble convincing those in need to come back, as “they don’t want to take too much.” Reverend Scott-Bromley and Mr Edwards thanked the generosity of donaters, but said more long life food would be welcome. Donations to St Mark’s in Bordon, or Petersfield Salvation Army Hall.
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Weather for Petersfield
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 4 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 4 C to 11 C
Wind Speed: 22 mph
Wind direction: North west