Local Food Bank answers 300 calls for help

Minster Stephen Blakey and Charles Swan at Duns Food Bank
Minster Stephen Blakey and Charles Swan at Duns Food Bank

In the past 30 months Berwickshire Churches’ food bank has had more than 300 calls for help and organisers are now looking to provide further financial help.

Aiming to prevent people from reaching such a crisis level that they need to use a food bank, Duns Parish Church is planning to develop a Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre and a Credit Union which (like the food bank) will be for anyone in Berwickshire not just Duns and District Parishes.

Berwickshire Churches’ Food Bank started in time for Christmas in 2012 and the need to help people in crisis continues.

Rev Veronica M Walker explained: “That is not 300 people needing help but 300 calls for help.

“Some are from individuals, some from couples and others from families.

“This particular food bank is based in Duns Parish Church and is kept supplied, both in terms of foodstuffs and in terms of money, mostly by local churches but also by local organisations and a few schools.

“The recipients, however, can be of any religion and of none. If there is a need and if they are referred by some agency such as Citizens Advice Bureau or Berwickshire Housing association, that is all that is required.

“This is a response to emergency situations – not a regular free food handout – but if people need the food bank’s help on several occasions it will be ready to help.

“Food boxes are provided to people in crisis who have been referred to us by other agencies such as Social Services, Citizens Advice Bureau, and Berwickshire Housing Association and others.

“We provide a week’s supply of food for each person referred.”

Donations are often taken into Duns Parish Church on Friday mornings when the church is open for Healing Rooms and can include: pasta, jars of pasta sauce, tins of stew or similar/tinned pie, tins pilchards/corned beef/ ham etc, cup-soup or tins of soup, jam, tea bags/coffee, breakfast cereal, long life milk (liquid or powder), tins rice pudding, tins of fruit, tins of potatoes, and tins of vegetables/baked beans.

And organisers make a special plea that care is taken to ensure that the use-by dates are well into the future as they may need to store the food for some time.

If you want to help then please contact your local minister or priest or priest-in-charge and become part of the caring community.