People are being asked to check their store cupboards and donate any spare tins or packets of food and toiletries they may have to help support families in need. Residents are being encouraged to either drop off items at one of the designated collection points or get together with colleagues and organise ‘Bring a Tin to Work’ appeals.
In doing so, they will enable The Well Wolverhampton Foodbank, the Good Shepherd Ministry and the City of Wolverhampton Council to continue supporting local families or individuals who are struggling to make ends meet – and going hungry as a result.
The Well Wolverhampton Foodbank and the Good Shepherd Ministry hand out hundreds of food parcels every week, but with the number of people turning to them for help steadily increasing – and demand set to spike during the summer holidays – they are desperate for donations to ensure they have enough stock.
The appeal has been launched by Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Ian Brookfield, who is supporting the city’s foodbanks during his year in office, and the council has teamed up with representatives from Royal Mail, Wolverhampton Homes, Wolverhampton and Bilston Athletics Club and Carvers Wolverhampton Marathon to collect, distribute and volunteer to assist with the appeal.
Mayor Councillor Brookfield said: "There is a desperate need for extra food and toiletries to enable local organisations to help some of the city's most vulnerable people.
"Many local families have been affected in some way or another by the economic downturn and a lot of households are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. This is particularly difficult for families who have additional mouths to feed.
"The Well Wolverhampton Foodbank and the Good Shepherd Ministry say food stocks are particularly low at present, which is a real concern as the school holidays bring added pressures on families who have the children at home all day without the benefit of free school meals.
"We know the good people of Wolverhampton are tremendously supportive of our city’s foodbanks, but we're asking anyone who can do so to please have a look in their cupboards and see if there are any tinned or dried foodstuffs, squash or toiletries which they can spare for the appeal.
“We’re also asking businesses to set up ‘Bring a Tin to Work’ appeals, and encourage their employees to collect items which can be donated to the appeal.”
Among the items which would be gratefully received are tinned and dried food such as fruit, fish, baked beans, potatoes, kidney beans, rice, noodles, pasta and pasta sauces, chickpeas, soup, vegetables, meat, cereal and cereal bars, custard, jam, rice pudding, sponge pudding, long life fruit juices, squash, long life milk, tea, coffee and desserts.
The organisations would also be grateful to receive toiletries including soap, shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, baby wipes, nappies, disposable razors and shaving foam.
Collection points have been set up at the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Civic Centre, the Royal Mail's distribution centre in Sun Street and Wolverhampton Homes’ One Stop Shops at Market Street, Wolverhampton, Bilston Town Hall, Chervil Rise, Heath Town, Showell Circus, Low Hill, Leasowes Drive, Merry Hill and Alfred Squire Road, Wednesfield. Items can also be dropped off directly with the Good Shepherd Ministry at Darlington Street Methodist Church in Wolverhampton city centre.
Though the appeal is seeking urgent donations for distribution during the summer holidays, it will continue throughout the year and there will also be a special collection point at the Carvers Wolverhampton Marathon, taking place in West Park on Sunday 6 September 2015.
All the food items will be split between The Well Wolverhampton Foodbank and the Good Shepherd Ministry which will distribute them to needy people across the city. The toiletries will be distributed by the city council.
Brother Stephen from the Good Shepherd Ministry said: "This appeal is a fantastic idea and those who are able to donate items, no matter how big or small, can be sure that the food will reach those in most need across our city.
"Demand has increased dramatically over the last few years, and the available food supply has greatly diminished – so we need all the help we can get.”
Jeremy Watson, chair of The Well Wolverhampton Foodbank, said "We are increasingly hearing of families with little or no food for their children, and parents going without food so that their children can have a meal. This is a really important initiative and we're hoping people in Wolverhampton who can spare an item or two are able to donate them to the appeal – and in doing so, make a huge difference to other people's lives."
In the last year, The Well Wolverhampton Foodbank has helped approximately 9,000 adults and children, while the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd support more than 1,400 individuals a month, including at least 150 needy families and over 80 homeless people every week.
Mayor Councillor Brookfield added: “Please support this appeal in any way you are able to – it will be gratefully appreciated by all concerned.”
Anyone who would like to find out more about the appeal, or who wishes to volunteer in some way, is asked to please contact Martha Cummings or Steve Poole at the City of Wolverhampton Council by calling 01902 555929.