A Foodbank has opened in Uckfield to give emergency food and support to people in crisis.
It has been six months in the planning stage and opened its doors for the first time last week.
Various agencies, such as the local Citizens Advice Bureau will be the custodians of Foodbank vouchers, which can be exchanged for three days of emergency food at the Kings Centre, Grange Road, on Tuesday and Friday afternoons between 2.30 and 4pm.
Ian Noble, one of the trustees, said: “We have been thrilled with the large numbers of people who are willing to volunteer. No one should ever go hungry, so we want to help those that need us.
“There are a growing number of people who are turning to Foodbanks because they can’t afford food. It’s a wake-up call to the nation that we cannot ignore the hunger on our doorstep.”
On Saturday, September 21, Foodbank volunteers will be collecting food donations at Tesco in Uckfield between 9am and 5pm.
Trussell Trust foodbanks have seen the biggest rise in numbers given emergency food since the charity began in 2000.
Almost 350,000 people across the UK have received at least three days emergency food from Trussell Trust foodbanks during the last 12 months, nearly 100,000 more than anticipated and close to triple the number helped in 2011-12.
More than a third helped last year were children.
These statistics prompted Peter Roe, managing director of Ashdown AV, to galvanise a team of friends and associates from various Uckfield churches to start a Foodbank in the town.
He said: “We knew that there was a demand for emergency food in Uckfield as we had reports from neighbouring Hailsham that Uckfield people were travelling to collect from their Foodbank.”
Rising costs of living, static incomes, changes to benefits, under-employment and unemployment have meant increasing numbers of people in the UK have hit a crisis that forces them to go hungry. This dramatic rise in Foodbank usage predates the most recent welfare reforms, which could see numbers increase further in 2013-14.
The Foodbank will welcome more volunteers and anyone wishing to help can ring 01825 745489 or email firstname.lastname@example.org preferably on a Tuesday or Friday, when staff will be available. If you wish to donate food, please use this contact number or email address.