Over 3,000 local people have had to seek assistance from Foyle Foodbank over the past 12 months, it has emerged.
Over 30,000 meals have been distributed to 3,300 people during that period, the Foodbank has confirmed.
Shockingly, this included almost 1,400 children whose families were in such reduced circumstances that they needed emergency food parcels from the local organisation.
The figures were released as Foyle Foodbank prepared to launch its fifth annual city-wide food drive later this week to ensure that no-one goes hungry in Derry this Christmas.
Deirdre McDaid from the Foyle Foodbank said: “It’s been both a humbling and rewarding experience to promote what we do as it is such a vital service to the people in our City. We have had people who have suffered a bereavement, gone into depression and lost their jobs who have then found themselves at the Foodbank.
“There have also been people who have been made redundant and because of benefit delays come to our doors for the first time.
“We’ve witnessed panic and embarrassment from some people who say ‘I don’t want to be here, but I have no choice’. Many people who have contacted us didn’t even know that we existed so I think that more people could be in need of our services.
“Hopefully one day there won’t be a need for foodbanks but until that happens, we must fight together in order to prevent poverty and hunger.”
James McMenamin, Manager of the Foodbank said: “We are hoping to build on the success of last year’s Food Drive, during which 10 tons of food was collected by over 50 businesses, workplaces, churches, schools and community groups. This supported many local people in need by creating thousands of meals for those facing crisis this Christmas.
“We have specially prepared collection boxes and posters to enable a Food Drive Collection point to be easily set up in your premises and once full, volunteers from the Foodbank will come and collect the donations before processing it and getting it to those in need. All that we ask you to do is encourage people to donate non-perishable food items listed and it doesn’t matter how small your Food Drive is. The items most in demand in the Foodbank include tinned meat, tinned fish, tea and coffee.”
Donations can also be dropped off during the Foyle Foodbank’s opening hours at the Apex Living Centre in Springtown every Monday and Friday from 11am to 2pm and every Wednesday from 11am to 3pm and 6pm to 8pm.
If you can support the Christmas Food Drive, you can contact them on 07716129788, by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or through their Facebook page.