Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Hungry Nation

Earlier this month I spent the day volunteering with the Rhondda Foodbank at their depot in Ynyshir. This small lock-up garage just off the main road and its contents of food has been instrumental in preventing around 800 people in the Fach and the Fawr from going hungry in less than two years.

The contribution of the foodbank in helping those who are struggling to make ends meet cannot be underestimated. It is unacceptable that adults and children are going hungry in 21st century Wales. I was only too glad to donate my time to pack food parcels during my republican boycott of the royal visit to the Senedd.

The foodbank network relies on volunteers giving up their free time and the generosity of the public at their monthly supermarket food collections. Around half a tonne of non-perishable food is collected on any given day during these collections and this has been enough to sustain the charity’s work to date.

However, due to a combination of word getting around and increased need due to the policies of the Con/Dem Government, more and more demand is being placed on the Rhondda Foodbank. At the beginning of the year in the Rhondda alone they distributed around 300kg of food every month in their parcels designed to last recipients three days. However, this has now jumped to 500kg of food distributed each and every month which means that almost every can collected outside a supermarket is being sent out soon afterwards. It is heartening that so many people who can’t afford to feed themselves are receiving help, but it is clear that more needs to be done to help the foodbank network in the Rhondda.

I saw first-hand the difference this charity is making to people’s lives when a package was delivered to a couple who had experienced a benefit delay. However long it takes the Department of Work and Pensions take to determine their case, the couple will receive no money. Presumably they are expected to live on fresh air?

I therefore urge anyone who can to give as generously as posible if they come across Foodbank volunteers on their collection days. Forthcoming collections will be held on July 9th at Asda in Tonypandy, September 10th at Morrisons in Porth and on October 22nd at Asda in Tonypandy.

For more details you can contact the organisers of the Rhondda Foodbank by visiting their website www.actscommunitychurch.co.uk, by emailing admin@actscommunitychurch.co.uk or by calling 07928 451374.

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