Walsall North Foodbank was launched in Pelsall today (Saturday, August 30) with a special event, attended by VIP guests.
The Mayor of Walsall, Councillor Pete Smith, and Mayoress Laura Barnes, were among the guests at Pelsall Methodist Church, Chapel Street, for the official launch of the facility, which will serve people living in the north Walsall area.
The Mayor told the guests that although it was “national disgrace” that there were people in the UK who had to rely on foodbanks to feed their families, he recognised the good work by volunteers to help those in need.
“It’s a damned good job we have people like you who are rising to the challenge,” he said. “That’s to be applauded and you are to be thanked.”
Coun Smith said there were 10.5% of households across the UK who are going hungry.
“In Walsall, that means between 10,000 and 11,000 households are going hungry. It’s a national disgrace that we have a system that allows this to happen.”
Although based at Pelsall Methodist Church, the foodbank is a joint venture with St Marks, Shelfield; St Michael’s CE; and St John’s, Walsall Wood churches.
A steering committee, headed by Val Aspbery, has been working with Christian charity The Trussell Trust, for the past two years to set up the much-needed facility. The Trussell Trust runs 420 food banks across the UK.
She said it would not have been possible to launch it without help of local organisations, including Brownhills-based One-Stop, Carpets Direct in Pelsall, and students from Shelfield Academy.
“It’s marvellous; people have been so wonderful to us,” she said. “People have been doing all sorts of things to help.”
However, she said there was still work to be done to counter the myths about foodbanks.
“People are going out to work who cannot afford to feed their children,” she said. “They are missing meals to feed their children. Feeding people is our mission.”
The foodbank, which also received £1500 funding from Walsall Council to pay for set-up fees, support, branding and training from the Trussell Trust, will open for the first time on Tuesday, September 1, at 11am.
It will operate Tuesdays 11am-1pm, Fridays 1-3pm, and will be run in line with guidelines from The Trussell Trust.
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
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.
Rev Molly Chitokwindo, of Pelsall Methodist Church, said the foodbank was still in need of volunteers.
To find out how you can help or how you can donate food items, telephone 07582 869895 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org