Fantastic response to Foodbank appeal

From left, David Gawne, Neal Mellon and Cyril Rogers pictured storing goods at the Isle of Man Foodbank last month

From left, David Gawne, Neal Mellon and Cyril Rogers pictured storing goods at the Isle of Man Foodbank last month

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An appeal for volunteers for the Isle of Man’s Foodbank has been met with a fantastic response.

No fewer than 30 volunteers have signed up after the appeal went out in our sister newspaper the Isle of Man Examiner and here on iomtoday last month. Moreover, five of the new recruits represent groups of volunteers.

Foodbank director Neal Mellon said: ‘One would have been a success but 30 is unbelievable.’

This weekend, the volunteers will be out in force for a collection at the Tesco store in Douglas where shoppers will be asked to make donations to the charity.

Launched on October 18 last year by a consortium of government and third sector organisations, the Foodbank has dealt with some 200 cases of individuals and families in crisis since January - and distributed at least 120 food parcels.

Those given help have been aged between 17 and 62.

A three-day food parcel contains pasta, milk, fruit juice, soup, tinned vegetables, baked beans, tinned fruit, tins of meat/fish, mashed potato, a box of cereal, biscuits and toiletries.

Specialist products such as gluten free or baby foods are also supplied.

The organisation doesn’t just provide emergency food aid but looks into the circumstances that lead people to seek its help.

Housing assistance is supplied through Housing Matters, debt counselling is offered by the Office of Fair Trading and the social work team in the Department of Health and Social Care provides general support.

Although there has been a tremendous response to the appeal for volunteers, the charity has so far drawn a blank in its search for new premises.

The Foodbank currently has temporary facilities for sorting, storing and providing foodstuffs to the Salvation Army, which issues the food parcels.

But it is in urgent need of longer term accommodation of about 240 sq ft, and located in the Douglas area, to be used by the volunteers to sort and store food items ready for distribution. It will not be accessible to the public.

In the meantime, the charity has appointed a quartermaster to sort 
out the stores at the temporary base. ‘We will stay where we are until we get new accommodation,’ said Mr Mellon.

If you feel you can help, contact Mr Mellon on 853820 or by email at mellon@manx.net

The Foodbank collection at Tesco will continue today (Sunday) from 9am to 6pm.

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