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News Archive > General > Working families’ use of food bank doubles

Working families’ use of food bank doubles

By Adele Moore 5th July 2017

Working families’ use of food bank doubles
STAK: Mike Mellow, left, is appealing for help

THE number of working families asking to use a food bank service designed for emergencies has doubled in the last six months, according to a St Austell charity.

STAK on High Cross Street is best known for serving food and giving advice to homeless members of the local community.

But it also supports working families with a range of services – including making referrals to the local food bank in St Austell.

Mike Mellow, manager of STAK, and Lucky Kaur, chairwoman of the trustees, said they have seen a significant increase in working families asking for help.

Mr Mellow said: “I would say that the number of working families we refer to the food bank has doubled since January.

Appealing for donations, volunteers and cash he added: “There are a lot of challenges. For example, when people apply for Universal Tax Credit and the Government doesn’t appreciate it takes six weeks to arrive.

“If it wasn’t for us these people would probably go hungry.”

Ms Kaur added: “There are now more people working zero hours contracts where they are not earning enough and they run out of food. These people are not the stereotypical definition of poverty, but we don’t discriminate in any way.

“This is my passion - it’s work in the community for the community."

Mr Mellow is a former chef who went on to be a full-time employee of STAK. There is also one part-time member of staff and 20 volunteers - but the charity is keen for more people to get involved.

The charity offers a community kitchen which is open six days per week at lunchtime and tea time – providing a safe space for people to access support and guidance on a wide range of issues. Communal meals provide an important opportunity for people to socialise – supporting good mental health.

The charity provides free soup for people who have no money, a cake or sandwich and a drink for 75p, or three courses for £1.50, as well as free debt advice – where demand has remained relatively steady. STAK also runs groups in art and singing.

Meanwhile, the St Austell Food Bank in Brunel Business Park is also appealing for donations of tinned food – amid a projected 10 per cent increase in demand.

The food bank served 2,551 people, including 889 children, throughout 2016, however that is expected to rise by at least 10 per cent this year, based on the figures from the first six months of 2017.

Jon Langford manager of the food bank said: “A 10 per cent increase means we need at least 10 per cent more food.

“We are so grateful to the people of St Austell, and we would be extremely grateful for anything more they can give at this time. We are run completely by donations.”

Both STAK and The St Austell Food Bank are appealing for new volunteers, cash donations or tinned foods.

The St Austell Food Bank is low on instant mashed potato, tinned tomatoes, sponge puddings and biscuits.

There are collection bins in Tesco, Holmbush, and Co-op, Gover - which will host a collection on Saturday, July 8.

People can also donate between 1pm and 3pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at the food bank at Unit 4-5 Brunel Business Park.

By Adele Moore 5th July 2017

John Little 9th July 2017 19:52
I am a volunteer with the St Austell food bank being at the sharp end I see first hand the people who come in and get the food. They all have a different story, but they all need the support of the food bank. It is not only food they need but toiletries, which we can supply: - toilet rolls, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, and other things needed for hygiene and can give them some dignity. If they need utensils we have some we can give. in addition to food, there is a person on hand to give advice make phone calls etc. these are called "Community Champions. I would like to thank all the people of St. Austell and surrounding area that give food and other things for the food bank, without their generosity and support we who volunteer could not give out what we do not have. THANK YOU
jowan 10th July 2017 08:35
After suffering the indignity of being told on three occasions in the past year that the food bank already has more than enough volunteers, it seems futile to subject others to the embarrassment of rejection
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