Banking on help when the cupboard is bare

12-462              Sharon Boyall, new manager of The Hub in Hemel Hempstead.
12-462 Sharon Boyall, new manager of The Hub in Hemel Hempstead.

A PROJECT that helps those facing a cash crisis has dished up 578 food parcels since being launched in September last year.

That figure means Dacorum Foodbank has fed around 1,137 hungry mouths, and of these 407 were children.

And it is families that are struggling the most according to the scheme’s part-time manager Sharon Boyall, who was appointed in March.

“I personally didn’t realise there was a need in the area, you always hear of it but until you actually see it you don’t realise – I was quite overwhelmed,” said the mum-of-three.

“I think the need for the families has probably been the most overwhelming thing for me.”

The most common reasons forcing people to ask for help from the charity are low incomes and benefit changes or delays,

Extra parcels had to be given out during the February school holidays because some parents, whose children would usually receive free school lunches, could not stretch to serving up an extra meal each day.

Figures show that the most people needing help come from Hemel Hempstead’s town centre, followed by Adeyfield East and West and then Highfield.

But aid is also needed in more unlikely locations like upmarket Berkhamsted where 30 food parcels have been served up and the recently launched food distribution centre in Tring where demand is said to be growing.

The scheme, with its head office at The Hub in Paradise Depot, Hemel Hempstead, is able to run thanks to donations from churches, schools, businesses and individuals- since September more than 20 tonnes of food has been handed over.

Foodbank volunteers will be at Asda in Hemel Hempstead asking shoppers to donate goods on Saturday, June 16 from 9am to 3pm,

Goods currently needed are tinned tomatoes, tinned fruit, tinned sweetcorn, cereals, tinned meat, biscuits, cereal bars, instant mash and sugar.

Visit the website at www.dacorum.foodbank.org.uk to find out how you can help.