Initiative to help families in ‘food crisis’

Food bank opens in Honiton.

A food bank was officially opened in Honiton last week - to meet the needs of a growing number of people in ‘food crisis’.

The King’s Centre Food Bank is the brainchild of Honiton Community Church, but is being supported by other churches and agencies in the town.

Representatives from a large number of local organisations attended an official launch at The King’s Centre on Thursday.

Community church member and retired police inspector Norman Amey introduced Teresa Hawkes as the project’s voluntary manager.

He explained there has always been a need for a food bank in the community but that the need was increasing due to rising unemployment and big demands on families’ decreasing budgets.

Donations of non-perishable food items are now being sought.

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Collection points have been set up in St Paul’s Church, the Church of the Holy Family, in Exeter Road, Honiton Town Council’s office, in New Street, the NatWest bank and The King’s Centre.

Mr Amey said he hoped further collection points can be established in places “where people gather”.

Supermarkets in the town could also be approached.

The food bank is being run entirely by volunteers.

“They will check donated items, to make sure they are in date and carry out stock rotation,” Mr Amey said.

“We will be focusing on a certain number of items - things which are non-perishable and either dried or tinned.”

People will be deemed to be in ‘food crisis’ if they have no food and no money with which to buy food.

Mr Amey explained: “Those in need will be given a voucher to redeem at The King’s Centre.

“The food bank will be open from 1pm to 3pm on Fridays, but there is an emergency number on the vouchers that people can ring at other times.”

Vouchers will be issued by recognised agencies, but those in desperate need can contact the Community Action Team at The King’s Centre on 01404 43800 to refer themselves for an assessment.

The food bank project aims to help anybody in need - regardless of their race, religion or background.

“The only reason we may not help someone is if they are abusive,” Mr Amey said.

Midweek Herald readers can help support the project by donating any of the following items: fruit juice (1 litre), squash, UHT milk, sugar, tea bags, coffee, pasta, rice, noodles (in sealed bags), pasta sauce, cereals, biscuits and tinned items such as baked beans, rice pudding, soups, meat, fish, fruit, custard, potatoes and baby food.

Donations can be taken to St Paul’s Church any time from 8.30am to 4pm, seven days a week, Honiton Town Council’s office any week day morning, the NatWest bank during opening hours and The King’s Centre (down the alleyway opposite Honiton Police Station) between 1pm and 3pm on Fridays.

Honiton Community Church, which meets at Honiton Community College, has already successfully launched a number of other projects, including a debt advice service, Many Hands to assist people with gardening, decorating, moving house and general DIY and Walk the Talk, which provides practical, emotional and spiritual support to those who are marginalised in society.