Cleckheaton Food Bank appeals for support in busy year ahead

The team at Cleckheaton Food Bank has thanked everyone who made generous donations to help feed the hungry over the festive season and is appealing for continued support in 2022 as it prepares for a busy year ahead.

Thursday, 6th January 2022, 7:00 am
Many people donated items to Cleckheaton Food Bank to help feed the hungry over the festive season

January is already seeing increased demand as the continuing impact of the Covid pandemic and cost of energy bills crisis take their toll.

Josie Pugsley, of the Cleckheaton Food Bank team, said: “2021 was as our first full year of operation. It started with a bang - there was a big surge in demand in January and February, things then levelled out through the spring and summer, but as autumn arrived, the cold weather came and the reduction in Universal Credit hit families we saw another surge in need in the area.

“In the last four months of the year we were regularly feeding 30-40 households a week.

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Advanced Supply Chain donated 32 turkeys which were distributed by Cleckheaton Food Bank in the run-up to Christmas

“With demand high and funding tight we decided we could not afford to and did not have the resources to run a special hamper day this year, as we had in 2020.

“However, we had lots of lovely Christmas donations from so many wonderful sources that we were able to send out a hamper with every food parcel we delivered in the week leading up to Christmas - a total of 54 hampers were distributed by us.

“We also worked with Liversedge Football Club who distributed a further 30 hampers.

“We had so many wonderful donations from local schools, churches and businesses, as well as many individuals.

“We are hugely grateful to Cleckheaton ward coucillors, the Co-op at Mill Bridge, Tesco in Cleckheaton, Sainsbury’s in Birstall, Third Sector Kirklees, Groundwork UK and the Arnold Clarke Foundation, all who have been major sources of funding for us in 2021, and who continue to support us in 2022.

“The Co-op at Mill Bridge, Morrison’s in Heckmondwike, Parfetts of Halifax and Cleckheaton Tesco all also regularly make food donations too.

“This Christmas we had some lovely stories of individuals and groups that raised money, collected food and brought us donations: slimming groups, exercise classes, cub packs, adults and children - too many to name individually but without whom many families would have had a hungry Christmas.

“Finally I give huge thanks to the wonderful volunteers that enable us to run all this week in, week out. The team leaders, the packers, to deliverers, our quartermaster, the shelf stackers, the administrators, the fundraisers, the phone team, the client review team and the trustees.

“If you would like to volunteer, we are already on the lookout for car drivers that can spare a few hours or so to deliver parcels for us on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons between 1.30pm and 4pm.

“We expect 2022 to be even busier. So far in January we can see demand is high.

“One of the issues many of our clients face is a lack of security of income, and the irony is - so do we, the food bank.

“As the economic impacts of Covid and Brexit are felt by the communities in and around Cleckheaton, we will continue to strive to provide help and support.

“No one should go hungry in the world, ever, and that so many are, right on our doorstep, should be a matter of national shame.

“If you have more than two weeks’ food in your home, please consider donating to a local food bank (money, food or time) so that those without can benefit.”