What are food banks?
On a daily basis, people throughout Cynon Valley, Wales and the rest of the UK are going hungry. Many people find themselves unable to afford food to eat for a variety of reasons including redundancy or the pressure of receiving a bill you didn’t plan for when you are on a limited income.
Foodbanks are charitable organisations that provide food that has been donated to people who cannot afford to eat. In the UK, the Trussell Trust has a network of 428 foodbanks across the country – for more information please visit www.trusselltrust.org.
Referral to foodbanks are made by professional organisations. The provision of three days’ worth of food to people and families in crisis can help in a range of ways.
The numbers of people using foodbanks are increasing. In 2015/16, 85,656 people in Wales were fed by foodbanks. In 2016/17, the figure was just under 95,190, representing an increase of more than 10%. A third of this went to children.
Why is Vikki supporting the food bank?
Vikki supports the Merthyr Cynon Foodbank, which is part of the Trussell Trust network. Vikki regularly donates to the foodbank, as she think it is simply wrong that in one of the richest countries in the world, people are going hungry and without food.
By supporting the Merthyr Cynon Foodbank, Vikki can practically support those residents of the Cynon Valley who are in greatest need. In particular, foodbanks are supporting many people including children who have been unfairly affected by UK Government welfare changes.
Vikki also wants to highlight the work of foodbanks, both in terms of where local people in need can get help and in terms of tackling the issues that are forcing people to rely on them.
How do you use a food bank?
Merthyr Cynon Foodbank uses a voucher referral system. It works with agencies like Citizens Advice, children’s centres and health visitors. If they feel you are struggling to put food on the table, they will issue you with a foodbank voucher. They can also provide long term support if needed to help address some of the issues behind the reasons for your crisis.
The referral agency will take some basic details from you to complete the voucher. This will help them to identify the cause of your crisis and offer practical guidance. It also means they are able to prepare suitable emergency food for the right number of people.
To find your nearest referral agency, please contact Merthyr Cynon Foodbank using the details on https://merthyrcynon.foodbank.org.uk/contact-us/.
Once you have been issued with a voucher, you can exchange this for a minimum of three days of emergency food at your nearest foodbank centre.
A list of foodbank centres can be found at https://merthyrcynon.foodbank.org.uk/locations/.
How can I support a food bank?
Merthyr Cynon Foodbank relies on the generosity of donations from local residents. Donations of food can be made in local supermarkets or at the Foodbank’s main base in Gurnos Christian Centre. For details of the food items that are needed, please visit https://merthyrcynon.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/.
Of course, there are other ways to support the good work carried out by Merthyr Cynon Foodbank. To find out how you or your business can financially support the foodbank, or if you have an hour or two free per week and could donate your time to volunteer with the foodbank, please go to https://merthyrcynon.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/.