A community food bank in Ripon is helping struggling families across the city feed their children with generous donations from local people.
The ‘Bread of Life’ food bank, set up by Ripon Community Church on Water Skellgate, has supplied food to more than 40 families in the city since 2011.
“It’s a real privilege to help out with the food bank,” said Ruth Bakes, treasurer and secretary at the church.
“Anybody can get into these situations where they don’t have enough food, by getting ill or losing their job.”
Mrs Bakes, 56, who works with elderly people when she is not volunteering for the church, told the Gazette there is a “real need” for the food bank in Ripon.
“We don’t know how some people manage,” she said.
Mrs Bakes joined the church’s treasurer Alec Lutton at Booths supermarket in Ripon on Thursday, January 14, encouraging shoppers to add a few extra items to their weekly shop for the food bank.
“We don’t preach to people,” said Mr Lutton, 63, who has volunteered at the church for 14 years. “We just want to show that we care. We get quite a lot of interest and most people are very generous.”
Ripon city Coun Stuart Martin, chairman of Ripon Council for Voluntary Services, praised the group for “preventing families in the city from feeling desperate”. “Services like this are absolutely vital,” he told the Gazette. “Because Ripon is considered an ok area it is often over-looked by central Government when it comes to funding.”
But Coun Martin said wards such as Ripon Minister, which he represents, are in desperate need of help from services such as the food bank.
“Ripon Minster ward is the third most deprived area in the Harrogate district. If it were not for people like the Bread of Life volunteers, I don’t know how some people would cope.”
A ‘My Neighbourhood’ project launched by Harrogate Borough Council last year identified Ripon Minster ward as a priority area, with anti-social behaviour, low education and skills attainment, lower life expectancy and low income families highlighted as key issues.
- ‘Bread of Life’ will be collecting food at Booths on April 4 from 10am-4pm. Their next distribution event is on 1 March at the Salvation Army Reach Out Centre. For more information call Alec on 01765 606133.