Carmarthern Food Bank has been running from its offices in Hall Street for the past two-and-a-half years and leaders said the number of people requesting help has more than doubled in the last year. Some families who would not normally visit are finding themselves needing help due to low wages, job losses, changes to benefits and child tax allowance.
Rhonwen Evans and Jo-dee Sutton, of New Life Christian Fellowship, who meet regularly in Kilgetty, have responded to their fellowship’s concerns about local people experiencing food poverty by signing up as volunteers with the Trussell Trust.
The two volunteers partake in initiating food collection, and are voucher holders. When a person or family with needs request help the two volunteers perform an assessment, then issue the voucher or emergency parcel, as appropriate. The persons issued vouchers then visit Carmarthern food bank, open on Mondays and Tuesdays, to collect the food where they can receive further help and advice. Lifts are also made available.
Two emergency food parcels are stored by the volunteers, for those with immediate and emergency needs.
“We as a fellowship are deeply concerned about the growing number of people who for various reasons are facing serious food poverty. Anyone in a crisis can either come along to get help after the New Life Christian Fellowship Church meetings after 12.30 1.30pm on Sundays or can contact me directly. After assessing the situation, we may be able to issue and deliver emergency food parcels, or vouchers.” shared Jo-dee.
The Church will also hold a Food Collection Point every Sunday following the service, after 12.30 1.30pm, in Kilgetty Community Centre for anyone wishing to donate.
They have been in touch with Kilgetty shops in hope that they will consider hosting food collection points too.
“At Christmas time especially we celebrate Jesus’ birth, giving gifts and eating special foods. Jesus commands us to love our neighbours. It is horrific to think that people in our villages may be living in food poverty, and this is our opportunity to act. We encourage you to join us.” shared Rhonwen.
The Food Bank food list changes every month, adjusting to its needs.
At present there are two lists:Regular Shopping List: milk, (UHT/powdered) sugar, fruit juice (cartons), cereals, instant mash potatoes, biscuits or snack bars; tinned: sponge pudding, tomatoes, rice pudding, meat/fish, fruit, vegetables.
Christmas Hamper List: mince pies, tinned ham, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, long life cream, box of biscuits, children’s selection box, chocolate snacks and nibbles and Christmas crackers.
Fairtrade items can be purchased and this helps support people in developing countries too.
The Church also have some tickets for a free Christmas lunch and friendship in a church in Carmarthen, and if there is anyone wanting to use it in Kilgetty a lift can be arranged on Christmas day.