Food bank may be set up in Ely to help people in crisis

PUBLISHED: 09:07 27 January 2012

POVERTY and hunger is becoming such a problem in the Ely area that local churches are considering setting up a food bank.

Ely Cathedral is in talks with the Lighthouse church, and they are considering renting a warehouse in the city as a way of increasing the help they can give people in crisis.

Canon Missioner Alan Hargrave from the cathedral said this week: “The setting up of a food bank is a long way off, but we have thought about it, along with the Lighthouse church and a few others churches.,”

“We plan to talk to people who do it in Cambridge, to get their advice. It is not for the faint hearted, it would need a lot of volunteers to run it.

“There is a need for it,. We get people coming into the cathedral looking for food, and they are generally given a voucher to get a meal from the refectory.

“I know that other churches distribute food parcels,” he added. “Anecdotally, the problem does seem to be on the rise.”

Pastor Giles Cornell from the Lighthouse church said: “All churches do something for people in need, and last week we spoke about maybe coordinating our efforts. Our church does give food parcels for some people on low incomes or those waiting for benefits, when requested by Hereward Housing. This Sunday we will be asking our congregation to give specific items for the parcels.”

Canon Hargrave says it is redundancy that causes the biggest problems for families who find their incomes drastically cut. He is supporting the Bishops who want to stop child benefit being included in the proposed £26,000 cap on welfare benefits.

“People being made redundant are in a particularly difficult position, when they already have got financial commitments,” he said. “I think it is a blunt tool to impose a £26,000 cap regardless. Child benefit is a universal benefit and everyone in the country gets it. It is the only thing given to recognise the greater need of those with children.”

*Anyone wanting to donate food items for distribution by the Lighthouse church can take items to their Lynn Road premises from Monday to Friday, between 9am and 4pm. They would like to receive non-perishable items including pasta and rice, tinned beans and spaghetti, soups, coffee and tea, causes, pot noodles and dried mashed potato.

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