John visits Dearne food bank providing food for 40 families each week

MORE than 40 food parcels are handed out to desperate Goldthorpe families every week.

Goldthorpe Salvation Army hosts a food bank every Monday handing out meat, vegetables, pasta, fruit and bread donated by local people and churches.

Dearne MP John Healey visited and talked to volunteers there today.

He said: “Britain is one of the richest countries in the world yet more and more parents are finding they can’t feed their families. It’s a national scandal.

“Organisations like the Salvation Army are stepping in to help families in need who have been abandoned by the government.

“Demand has multiplied in the last year and will continue to increase as more get hit by benefit and tax credit cuts.

“It is clear that food banks aren’t for the homeless or people with drug and alcohol problems – they are for people who have lost their jobs, are facing benefits delays and cuts or struggling with debt.”

Capt Christine Lee, of Goldthorpe Salvation Army, said that a year ago just six families were in need of food parcels and that without the weekly handouts many would have no food to eat at all.

She said she believes many people are being thrown into food poverty because of changes to the benefits system.

Capt Lee said: “Demand is just escalating all the time.

“When they change benefits there can be up to eight weeks where they have no money at all. Of course, this is going to get worse because of the bedroom tax coming in.

“I really don’t know what some people are going to do.

“Last week I had a lady on her knees crying her eyes out because she had no money to buy anything for her kids.

“But it’s so much more than giving people food. We have a policy of ‘if we help you we like to see something coming back’.

“The exciting thing is that there are about 20 or 25 people who were receiving food parcels and are now helping out as a result.

“People come to us for food but we also give them the chance to learn skills and gain confidence and work experience that can help them find a job. We don’t want a dependency culture.

“It’s amazing to see what hope does for people. We have seen people’s lives completely turned around.”

Capt Lee said as well as helping hand out parcels at the food bank people who have benefited have given back by decorating and improving the Salvation Army building.

Food and parcels are taken as far afield as Mexborough and Darfield and they are also providing furniture for families in some cases.

The food bank is open to all and takes place on Mondays at 1pm.