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Foodbank now feeding one in five people in Enniskillen

ALMOST 20 percent of the population of Enniskillen have relied on the Enniskillen Food Bank for support at some point in the last year. 
John Shades, manager at the Food Bank explained that in 2018 over 2400 people received food parcels from the local Food Bank. In a town with a population of around 14,000 people that figure equates to approximately 1 in 5 people here. 
“It’s disproportionate, but at the minute we are feeding 1 in 5 people in the town. At Christmas we gave away 346 hampers, these were for families of four. It’s staggering,” Mr Shades remarked. 
The food bank has in recent days announced it will be opening an extra day in the week. In addition to opening Wednesday and Friday 10-12, the service will also be available on Monday’s during the same hours. 
“We were open Wednesday and Friday, but we still feel that we are only scratching the surface so we opted to open an extra day with the same hours. 
“With universal credit coming in last year we noticed a real increase in people coming in. There was a similar trend with changes from DLA to PIP. We saw people go for numerous weeks with no money and we had people come in and say that they had no electric. When you hear that it’s harrowing. 
“We see people who are unemployed right across the board, but we also help professional people. 
“Some who have lost their jobs, or if a family member has ended up sick, for whatever reason they’ve just found it difficult to make ends meet and they’ve come to us for help.” 
Mr Shades noted that circumstances vary for each person who comes through the doors of the Food Bank. “We offer up to four weeks support and after that we would look into individual circumstances to see if we can offer additional support and how long that would be for. We are really here as a short term solution.”
Mr Shades referred to an ‘amazing’ group of volunteers who give of their time to help with the operational aspects of the Food Bank. “We have an amazing group of volunteers and the amount of food donations we get is staggering. We get no funding from anywhere,” he said. 
Those in need of support can find the ‘Enniskillen Foodbank’ on Facebook, get in touch with various agencies in town, or alternatively drop into The Lakes Vineyard Church, Cross Street, Enniskillen
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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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