The number of people using the Newtownabbey Foodbank has continued to grow during the past year with over 1,300 people receiving food since April 2017.
Newly released figures from the charitable group show that from April 1 2017 until December 2017, the foodbank fed 1,347 people, of whom 622 were children.
A spokesperson for the organisation said: “People come to the foodbank for many reasons such as delayed benefits or working on zero hours contracts and just not earning enough money to pay the bills and buy food. They are extremely grateful for the support they receive which is only possible because of the generosity of our local church congregations, businesses and people in the Newtownabbey community.”
A new part-time Project manager, Moni Wilson, has been appointed for the local service.
Moni will take over the day-to-day running of this busy project, making sure that everyone who visits the foodbank will get a warm welcome, support with any of their problems and leave with a three-day supply of food.
Commenting on her appointment, Moni said: “I am very excited about the opportunities we have within the foodbank, supporting families who are in need of food for a short period of time. This is one of the things that is always at the forefront of our minds.”
Throughout the festive period, Newtownabbey Foodbank delivered 300 Christmas hampers to those struggling in the region.
Thanking the community for their support for the Christmas campaign, the spokesperson said: “The response to our appeal for Christmas food was extraordinary, which enabled us to make up good quality hampers.
“We received many messages of thanks, one of which said, ‘I’m writing to say a very big thank you for the most generous food hamper received by myself and my family this Christmas. I am really overwhelmed by your kindness and the generosity of the people in the community. It meant a lot to myself and two daughters this Christmas’.”
Moni added: “Our Christmas collection at Tesco Northcott saw a group of willing volunteers with the support of Tesco staff greet the customers coming into the store with a request that they donate an item of food to support the foodbank.
“The volunteers were overwhelmed by the generosity of people donating not just one item, but many items. Without those donations we would not be able to help parents provide the happy Christmas that we all strive to do for our children. Tesco customers continue to support our work by donating to the Permanent Collection Point as they do their shopping, for which we are extremely grateful.
“When food is donated at the collection point, Tesco donate 20 per cent of the value of the food in money to support the work of the foodbank.”