Pelsall will soon have its own food bank, after local churches joined forces with the Trussell Trust to provide the service.
The North Walsall Food Bank is expected to open later this month or early February at Pelsall Methodist Church Hall and will serve the areas of Pelsall, Shelfield, Walsall Wood, and Rushall.
Valerie Asprey, who is chair of the project, said the service was sorely needed in the area.
The churches – St Marks, Shelfield; Pelsall Methodist; St Michael’s CE; and St John’s, Walsall Wood – have worked with the Christian charity, which runs almost 400 food banks across the UK, for about 12 months to launch the service.
The food bank, which will be based at Pelsall Methodist Church and will open on Tuesdays and Fridays, has applied for £1500 funding from Walsall Council that will pay for set-up fees, support, branding and training from the Trussell Trust.
One Stop, based in Lichfield Road, Brownhills, has provided materials and labour to fit out the room from where the food bank will operate, and the churches have begun to collect food donations so that it has the two tonnes it needs in order to launch.
People in need will be referred to the food bank from agencies such as children’s centres, social services or their family GP, and they will be able to collect a bag of provisions twice in a week, up to three times.
Each foodbox contains a minimum of three days nutritionally balanced, non-perishable food, including milk (UHT or powdered), sugar, cartons of fruit juice, soup, pasta sauces, tinned puddings, rice, pasta, tea bags, coffee, tinned meat and fish, and snack bars.
Trained volunteers will be on hand at the food bank to help recipients get the help they need, as well as advise them on benefits they may be entitled to.
“The idea is that the food bank isn’t a crutch, it is offering short-term help to people and a service so they can help themselves,” says Val.
“What we will be doing is taking a person who comes here on the first step towards making a difference to their lives.
“The majority of people who go to food banks are actually working people but are on low incomes and they cannot support the family, or people who are waiting for benefits but suffer from delays.”
Anyone who wants to donate food or can volunteer at the food bank should telephone Rev Rob Farmer at St Mark’s Church on 01922 692550.