Lisburn Foodbank makes urgent appeal for donations
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The foodbank, which is based at 1-3 Graham Gardens in Lisburn has seen a significant drop in donations over the last year, whilst the demand for help has increased as the cost of living crisis continues.
Erin, Data Insight and Development Lead at the Lisburn Foodbank explained: "Ultimately, we received through donations five tonnes less of food in 2023 (60,570 kg) than we had in 2022 (65,243 kg, a decrease of 7%).
"Our need has simply increased over this time – we fed 1.5% more people (3,702) and fulfilled 10.9% more foodbank vouchers (1,405).
"This leads to us purchasing more stock using cash donations to meet the shortfall.”
As the cost of living crisis continues unabated, the staff at the foodbank are concerned that the shortfall in donations will continue to increase, making it more and more difficult to help those in need across Lisburn.
"We do completely understand how tight times are for everyone, so we often must strike a balance on our social media and in our communications, but we are very worried about the trends,” continued Erin
“We particularly noticed this over December, when we had a shortfall of over five tonnes in just that month.
"One of the most striking insights for us is that 629 households had to come to our Foodbank for the very first time in 2023 – and this number just seems to increase year on year (e.g. from 564 in 2022), suggesting more and more diverse households are starting to struggle.
"We also know that this need is just the tip of the iceberg – many of those experiencing food insecurity aren’t either ready to reach out, able to, or aware of the support available."
The service provided by Lisburn Foodbank has been lifesaving for so many local people, with many not realising how quickly you can fall into financial difficulties.
Cathy (name changed), shared: “They always say you’re only two pay checks away from being homeless.
"I never believed it until it almost happened to me. I was in shock.
"They stopped my benefits, they took the money off me. I didn’t know what to do. At one point I was literally sitting in my living room with a candle and a terracotta pot, trying to heat the room.”
One of the volunteers at Lisburn Foodbank knows first hand the vital support offered.
"I never thought a volunteer would need the foodbank,” she said. “We’re starting to get more going out than coming in now, especially with the cost of living.
"I think the foodbank is like day to day life now for some people.”
Donations can be left at a permanent collection point in Tesco, Sainsburys, or Marks and Spencer.
Some of the items desperately needed include 1kg bags of rice, diluting juice, long life UHT milk, rice pudding, tinned fruit, spaghetti, pasta sauce, mayonnaise, toothbrushes, shaving foam, and bleach.
Find out more about how you can support the Lisburn Foodbank, by making donations, fundraising, or volunteering by contacting 07756965868 or email [email protected].