The Northants Telegraph spoke to food banks in the area to find out what’s being done to help out at this time of year.
Donations of food are always welcome at Wellingborough & District Foodbank, but this is not the only way people can help out this Christmas.
The food bank is run by the Daylight Centre Fellowship in High Street, Wellingborough, and gives out about 100 food parcels a month to people who have found themselves without the means to feed themselves.
Anyone needing food can be referred to the charity by a number of agencies in the district, and then their needs are assessed and verified.
The charity makes up food packs for single people, couples and families as well as packs for those with specific dietary requirements, such as someone with diabetes or on a gluten-free diet. The packs provide three days of food.
Centre manager Paul Adams said: “We cater for how many people are in the family and tailor the food parcels to whatever cooking facilities they have. If there is a specific dietary need, we do that too.
“We also do rough sleeper packs, which not many food banks do.”
A team of volunteers sort through the items donated to the food bank and will put them in date order to ensure everything is used within time and doesn’t go to waste.
Donations come in from various sources, including individuals, groups, schools and businesses.
A list is provided on the food bank’s Facebook page so people can see if there is an urgent need for anything in particular at any given time. But food is not the only thing which could make a difference to someone this Christmas.
The charity is always in need of toiletries, such as shower gel, shampoo and shaving gel, pet food for those with animals or even a tin opener for someone without one. While the majority of items used in parcels come from donations, cash is also needed for times when supplies or certain items run low.
It costs about £120,000 a year to run the Daylight Centre, which helps people with personal needs including homelessness, mental health problems, drug and alcohol abuse and isolation, as well as the food bank.
Mr Adams said: “If we could build up a regular support base of people who could give us £5 or £10 a month, it would make a big difference.”
Time is another way people can help by volunteering either at the food bank or the Daylight Centre.
Mr Adams said they have about 35 regular volunteers and added: “We couldn’t do all this without that support.”
For more details follow the Daylight Centre on Twitter or Facebook.
Donations can be dropped off at the Daylight Centre in Wellingborough, Monday to Friday, between 9.30am and 4pm. For more go to www.daylightcf.org.
A Kettering food bank has thanked the scores of people who have helped it cope with a busy run-up to Christmas.
Dave Goddard, from the food bank run by the St Jude’s Community Project, in Northampton Road, said many people became more aware of food banks around the festive period.
Mr Goddard said: “We have had a massive response of generosity from people around the area – community clubs, health clubs, even the guys from bmJV who are working on the A14.”
Rothwell and Desborough scouts have brought in boxes of chocolates they wrapped themselves. The food bank includes chocolate, Christmas puddings and even Advent calendars in its food parcels, and Mr Goddard explained: “It just helps make Christmas easier and nicer for the families.”
He added: “There’s a lot of food going out and a lot coming in. It’s been busier this year than last year, but it’s also been busier in terms of the amount coming in.”
People can drop off items on Monday to Friday mornings. Items particularly sought are tinned meat and fish, rice and sugar. The food bank also collects sleeping bags, blankets and warm clothing.
Meanwhile, a second Kettering food bank is set to open this week.
Run by town charity KCU, the food bank should send out its first parcels ahead of Christmas. KCU’s Paul Jackson said it had already received a number of donations.
He added: “From our partners the Trussell Trust, we are given to understand that Christmas is busier than normal both in terms of the generous donations received and the increased demand on food support. For us, it will be an interesting and new challenge which we are prepared for.
“We have been fortunate in receiving significant contributions from Asda, Tesco, churches and members of the public. Items that are always needed tend to be the items that are a bit more expensive such as tinned meat and fish.
“However, we are always extremely grateful for whatever we receive and would like to thank all who help us for their fantastic support and wish them a happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.”
Corby Foodbank’s director says he has seen a year of declining demand in the town but is not resting on his laurels as 2015 approaches.
Adam Boud says the number of people being given food packages has dropped to about 59 or 60 a week from a peak of 111-a-week last winter.
However, despite the steady drop in numbers, he said no-one is relaxing just yet.
He said: “I think as the economy has started to lift a little and begun to trickle to a local level, we have started to see demand for the food bank drop.
“More than a year ago we were getting busier and busier every week.
“It’s a good sign that we are giving out fewer parcels, I think the food bank is the only charity in the UK that wants to be out of business, but we will still continue to help those who need us.”
As Christmas approaches, Mr Boud said he would still like people to continue donating food to the service.
He added: “We sometimes see our demand increase in much colder weather.
“So, if there is cold weather in January and February, people may use some of the money they usually spend on food to heat their home.”
Mr Boud added: “We ask people to stick to a standard list of 21 items which we encourage them to donate.
“This includes things like tinned tomatoes, soup, sugar, UHT milk, biscuits, pasta and tuna.
“We are very lucky because there is a good network in Corby of people who make donations and we have collection points at Corby Cube and some of the supermarkets.”
Looking ahead to 2015, he said the food bank will continue to help people in Corby, but added that some of the opening hours may change to reflect the changing demand.
For more details people can visit corby.foodbank.org.