The Gateway Church Food Bank received a visit from Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner on Thursday, 10 May.
The Commissioner called in to the food bank to find out how they are helping people in the area who are in crisis. The Gateway Food Bank provide three days of nutritionally balanced food and support to people experiencing emotional and financial crisis.
Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “The Gateway Food Bank is an important service offering some staple requirements to people in need.
“My visit offered me the opportunity to meet with volunteers and hear first hand how they rely on the generosity of local people in donating the food, and organisations agreeing to have food collection boxes and trolleys placed in their shops.
“It is worrying to see how so many people have to rely on help and support from others for food, clothing and somewhere to sleep. Organisations such as Gateway Church are providing this support and helping people help themselves and get back on track without turning to crime.”
One food package is designed to last a person for three days and will include items such as tinned vegetables, meat and fruit, orange juice, milk, tea or coffee, sugar, cereals, biscuits, sauces such as curry, rice or pasta and a tinned pudding.
The service is free to users under a referral scheme, but they may only access the food bank up to three times as the service is considered an emergency stop-gap and a hand up, not a hand out.
Gateway Church previously received £540 funding from the Barnsley Chronicle Stronger Together Grant Scheme to run a series of six creative activity sessions for children and their carers aged four to eleven. Each session offered two hours indoor space for children and carers to undertake activities together to help with bonding and offer the opportunity to learn new skills.
Neil Morris, Trustee said: “Each client is guaranteed a smile at the door as part of this welcome; making them feel welcomed and valued. They get the chance to have a cuppa and a chat; just having this can lift a person’s spirit and self-worth.
“However, as austerity measures continue to bite we are seeing the need for our service growing; so in a spirit of mutuality we are making an appeal to the people of Barnsley and beyond. Can they support us at Gateway Food Bank in supporting others with a donation or gift of non-perishable food items? It would make such a difference to the individuals and families we support and offer assistance to.
“If you would like to consider volunteering with us; you can get further information by contacting co-ordinators Janet on 07733 541923, or Linda on 07765 991561
For more information on the Gateway Church and how to donate to the food bank please see – https://www.gatewaybarnsley.org