Food bank is a lifeline for hard-up families

A stack of pound coins.
A stack of pound coins.

A ‘LIFELINE’ food parcel scheme has sparked new fighting spirit in Goldthorpe.

Singletons and families who through no fault of their own are struggling to make ends meet, can visit the weekly bank fostered by Captains Christine and Adrian Lee of Goldthorpe Salvation Army.

From just a handful who accepted help a year ago, over 40 people in and around Goldthorpe now find it a struggle to put food on the table.

But, said Christine, the scheme is not just a hand-out. When people can give back to the commmunity they do, and now the food bank is manned by volunteers who once used the service.

She added: “Once people have a bit of help and confidence returns, opportunities start to open up again.

“It’s quite desperate for people, especially at this time of year. Loan sharks are a problem but people are starting to shun them, and will be able to begin the New Year free of debt.

“I have people crying their eyes out because they can’t provide for their kids. When there is a change in their benefits, people can go for eight weeks with no income. These are genuine cases. But we don’t want a dependency culture and we can help with work experience and training.”

Dearne MP John Healey visited the scheme that hands out meat, vegetables, pasta, fruit and bread donated by local people.

He said: “Food banks are for people who have lost their jobs, are facing benefits delays and cuts or are struggling with debt.

“Britain is one of the richest countries in the world yet more and more parents are finding they can’t feed their families.

“Organisations like the Salvation Army are stepping in to help families in need. Demand will continue to increase as more people get hit by benefit and tax credit cuts.”

Christine said: “John came and talked to volunteers and really listened. People can face such difficulties. There are some great landlords, but others leave people with no hot water for months, drainage problems and leaks.

“It’s hard for most people to come to the food bank but I tell them it could just as easily be me in their shoes. And the community spirit is incredible.”