Providing food for Isle residents in need

Epworth Baptist Church, Station Road, Epworth. Picture: Andrew Roe
Epworth Baptist Church, Station Road, Epworth. Picture: Andrew Roe

A new food bank has opened to offer those in need food parcels after a church minister noticed an increase in calls for help from Isle residents.

The service launched on Thursday, June 23, at Epworth Baptist Church, Station Road.

Epworth Baptist Church Minister Andy Wilkinson with food bank volunteer  Janet Grayston

Epworth Baptist Church Minister Andy Wilkinson with food bank volunteer Janet Grayston

Minister Andy Wilkinson said he decided to run the service last October when he noticed that there was an increase in the number of people asking for help.

“We have a really good relationship with the children’s centre and sometimes people there would ring us up and say we’ve got a family in need, can you provide a food parcel?

“We noticed it was becoming a regular occurrence. We saw an increase in need and it needed to be met.

“It’s been in the last six months or so that we have noticed this trend. We had already decided we wanted to do something. We help the local community and this was confirmation that we needed a food bank.”

Previously, Isle residents had been travelling to Scunthorpe food bank to get their food parcels, and the Epworth food bank now works with them to ensure everybody gets the help they need.

“We have ready made food bags, which we get from the Scunthorpe food bank. They contain all the main things people would need for meals, like pasta and soup and sauces. We also offer some extras which people can choose according to their need, such as tea, coffee, sugar, biscuits and toiletries.

“It’s only meant for the short term, it’s not meant to be a long term solution to a problem. We will provide people with food parcels containing enough food for three days.

“We are also working with other organisations to help people get the support they need if they are struggling to feed themselves and their family in the long term.”

Although nobody used the food bank services on the first session, Andy says he thinks more people will attend over time.

“We didn’t really expect anybody to come to the first session as we are so new and a lot of people don’t know about us yet, but the need is there so I am sure people will come.

“People may be surprised to know that residents in Epworth need a food bank as it known as an affluent area, but anybody can be in need of help. It is not just people who are homeless who may need help putting food on the table. Somebody may have just lost their job or there may have been a problem with somebody’s benefit payment. It could happen to anyone.”

To access the food bank, Andy Wilkinson said people would need to be referred from an official organisation such as their doctor or a chid’s school.

“This is just so we can keep track of who is accessing our services, when and where. Having said that we would never turn somebody away in need and people can always come in for a cup of tea, a biscuit and chat about their circumstances.”

The food bank is open every Thursday at the church from 2pm until 3.30pm. If you would like more information, or can help either as a volunteer or by donating food please call Andy on 07543087121.