Volunteers from Stowmarket Foodbank
The Stowmarket Foodbank has now been running for five years, and in that time has given out 77 tons of food to support families and individuals in crisis.
They work with over 35 referral agencies signposting people to them in their time of need, from schools and Citizens Advice Bureau to social workers and family centres.
The demand is increasing. Austerity has had the double impact of reducing grant funding from the public sector at the same time as increasing the level and complexity of demand. In 2013, 396 food parcels were provided. This rose to 485 parcels in 2014 and 616 parcels in 2015. In 2016 the figure rose again to 801, and indications for 2017 are showing an even further increase in demand.
Trying to promote financial and family stability, and to help break the cycle of poverty the foodbank recently employed a Family Support Worker. Stow market Foodbank also runs three sing and play sessions a week with 200 people attending, mainly parents and carers with young children. They also run two lunch clubs offering a hot meal and company for vulnerable and isolated adults in the community.
Covering the areas of Stowmarket, Needham Market and surrounding villages, they are much in demand and work with their small team and a number of regular volunteers who cook, sort, support and serve.