NOURISH Community Foodbank is calling on residents of Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge to help their new Meal-a-Month campaign.
Following a huge rise in applicants, the charity is seeking pledges of £3 per month – enough to provide a meal for one person in need.
In 2015-16, Nourish provided over 28,000 meals to 3,141 people in emergency situations, an increase of 34 per cent on the previous year. In that period, it received 31.5 tonnes of food donations.
Nourish Co-Chair Paul Haines said: “The vast majority of those who receive a three-day emergency supply of food from Nourish are working people experiencing a temporary financial hardship as a result of issues such as benefit changes, domestic violence or sickness. A donation of just £3 a month is the equivalent of one meal for a person in need. That’s about the price of a takeaway coffee.
“We are continuing to see a rise in demand for our services, and this small monthly donation will enable us to carry on providing food to people in crisis, by contributing towards food supplies and running costs, such as storage, food collections and deliveries. This £3 a month helps ensure we can keep going to provide what has become an essential service in the area.”
Each food bag contains enough food for nine meals and, for around two-thirds of people that Nourish supports, a single bag is all that is needed to help them over a hard time. As a registered charity, it has a stated aim of not encouraging dependency, and provides a maximum of 12 food bags per annum to a single household, with those who require additional support signposted to partner agencies.
The campaigning group End Child Poverty has found that the overall percentage of children living in poverty in Tunbridge Wells stood at 17.54 per cent in 2015, and in certain areas of the town it rose to 31 per cent.
Nourish has found that £3 is the cost if all food had to be purchased to provide each meal, with any food donations helping to reduce this average spending. Donations of £10 or £27 per month would provide even more food help.
To donate, visit www.nourishcommunityfoodbank.org.uk