A taste for helping others at Christmas

editorial image

With Christmas coming many of us are preparing for a seasonal spurge on gifts, giving and eating too much food.

But Bedford Foodbank is giving people the chance to think of others over the festive period, by helping those who are in poverty.

Throughout the year the group gives food parcels to families and individuals, who are in need for a variety of reasons.

Foodbank spokesman Simon Badman said: “We provide emergency food for people who find themselves in very vulnerable positions.

“It could be people who have gone back into work after being on benefits and won’t have money for a while, or people whose partner has left them, meaning that they still have to pay the bills and feed their family but the joint bank account has been closed.

“People can lose their jobs unexpecedly, or a relationship can break down unexpectedly. We had one case where people had been the victim of a housr fire, and they literally had nothing.”

Bedford Foodbank was founded in September 2011, and in its first year had almost 1,700 clients, giving out food with a combined weight the equivalent of three elephants. It runs under the aegis of the Trussel Trust, and currently provides food parcles to around 30 clients a week, which vary depending on the size of the families.

Clients are refered to the Foodbank from more than 50 agencies, including housing agencies, the Job Centre and social services.

More than 30 volunteers regularly fill roles from drivers and collectors to sorting in the warehouse and providing administrative support.

And the group has collection points at Borough Hall, Sainsbury’s supermarekt in Clapham Road, Brickhill Baptist Church, the Bunyan Meeting Place, St Paul’s Church and at the Transfiguration Church in Kempston. All people are welcome to donate non-perishable food to the collections.

Councillor Sue Oliver, leader of the Labour group at Bedford Borough Council, said the authority was now working towards a policy for voluntary groups to be able to access its fleet of vehicles during their ‘down time’.

She said: “There are wards in Bedford were more than 30 per cent of children live in poverty. I think that everyone would agree that shouldn’t be happening.”

To get involved in the Foodbank email info@bedford.foodbank.org.uk