Housing association helps Richmondshire church provide thousands of food parcels

Suz Gregory and Rebecca Sedgwick at the StoreHouse food bank in the Influence Church, Richmond.

A housing association’s support of a Richmondshire food bank has helped to provide tens of thousands of essential food parcels to people across the area.

At a recent open day at the StoreHouse food bank in Richmond’s Influence Church, Broadacres discovered how its funding has made a difference to the lives of those who are struggling to feed themselves and their families.

The association began its support of the food bank in 2013 and has continued this ever since through actual donations of food or through grant funding to buy food and other essentials.

During the first Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in 2020, Broadacres provided funding on several occasions in response to donations falling due to the restrictions placed on people leaving their homes, and with more parcels needing to be handed out to people facing hardship caused by the pandemic.

In the last year alone, 27,000 parcels were handed out, which equates to an average of 38 people each week.

Rebecca Sedgwick, Broadacres’ head of communication, attended the open day and was given a tour of the food bank by Suz Gregory, coordinator of the StoreHouse.

She was shown where the food is stored, as well as looking at how the StoreHouse helps people in other ways, such as handing out school uniforms, nappies and even tents for those who find themselves homeless.

Suz said: “With the cut in Universal Credit, rising energy bills and still lots of uncertainty about the long-term impacts of the pandemic, we’re expecting to be as busy as ever, so ongoing support we receive from organisations like Broadacres is crucial.

“It shouldn’t come down to heating rather than eating but that’s the sad truth of the situation for many people and with Christmas approaching, it brings it into even sharper focus.”

Rebecca said: “I was very impressed with how the StoreHouse is helping so many people who are struggling at the moment, whether it’s because they are having to go hungry to keep warm or finding it difficult to buy school clothes for their children.

“It makes the support we are providing to the StoreHouse, as well as food banks in other parts of North Yorkshire, so important and we will continue to help where we can in the future.”

Details on how to donate to the StoreHouse can be found at www.influencechurch.co.uk/storehouse/