ENNISKILLEN Foodbank is currently coping with an even greater increase in demand, with the introduction of benefits changes forcing many local families to depend on its services.
The switch to the controversial Universal Credit and to PIP (Personal Independent Payment) schemes, which has affected thousands locally, is one of the biggest factors driving demand for the local service.
As Christmas quickly approaches those behind the charity are appealing for both volunteers and donations.
“We run on the financial year, from April 1st. Since April this year, to date, we have had more people for the whole of last year,” said John Shades, pastor at the Lakelands Vineyard Church and manager of the foodbank.
Mr Shades said the Foodbank’s clients included people from all backgrounds and walks of life, including those who are in work but are struggling to make ends meet due to low wages, sick leave, or for a variety of different reasons.
With volunteers always welcome, particularly coming up to Christmas, Mr Shades said there were also certain items that were always in short supply, if people were thinking of donating.
“We have a veritable bean mountain. We also have an enormous amount of breakfast cereal,” he said. “What we’d really love is rice and long-life milk.
Also, tins of meals, such as chilli or chicken in white sauce. If you pair that up with rice or pasta you have a complete meal.
“Things like that would be very, very appreciated,” he explained.
As for Christmas, Mr Shades said things like selection boxes and biscuits would also be much appreciated.
“When it comes to Christmas time we always do our hampers,” he said. “Last year we gave away 254 hampers. Each of those hampers is the equivalent of a bag of five. We expect that would increase this year.”
Anyone interested in supporting Enniskillen Foodbank can drop items into the designated trolleys at Asda and Tesco, or call to the foodbank itself. Those interested in volunteering can call 07412133847.
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