Express & Star readers hailed after call to replenish food bank stocks is answered

The foodbank's phones starting ringing minutes after Express & Star readers had read their paper.

Asha Mattu was worried the food bank's cupboards were bare
Asha Mattu was worried the food bank's cupboards were bare

Running low on supplies but with demand higher than ever, the volunteers at The Elias Mattu Foundation were getting worried they would have to turn desperate Wolverhampton families away.

However, when the food bank's plight was featured in the Express & Star's Feed a Family campaign generous readers began phoning with cash donations and dropping off much needed food they had brought themselves.

Founder Asha Mattu said: "It felt great when the phones starting ringing with Express & Star readers offering cash donations or asking what food and supplies they could drop off to the food bank.

"The food bank was looking very bare because we added 80 families to feed through the summer holidays free school meals programme which was added on top of what we normally do.

"And then we have had pensioners getting in touch asking for help because they are struggling because bills are going up, which they are for everyone so we are seeing even more people asking for help.

"The Feed a Family campaign has raised awareness of what all food banks are facing and for us it has allowed us to start building our supplies up."

Asha Mattu at the Elias Mattu Foundation Food Bank

With energy bills set to increase again next month Asha believes yet more people will be ringing their emergency food parcel hotline on 07904 310530.

She added: "I can't see the numbers of people wanting help going down, in fact I can only seeing them going up."

When asked what is the best way someone who wants to help the food bank can contribute, Asha explained that whatever suits the donor is the best option.

She said: "It is entirely up to the individual how they want to help, some people give us cash because we can get better prices through purchasing wholesale and others have gone to Aldi or Lidl and bought us cereals and cans, all the staple stuff, we always need those."

Elias Mattu was a former Wolverhampton Mayor and councillor for Graiseley ward for 18 years, and his widow Asha set up the foundation in his honour after his death in 2018.

Asha also revealed the Feed a Family campaign, which normally gives family food and gifts during the festive season, is not the only time readers have helped the foundation.

She said: "Every time we have reached the bottom of the barrel we have put an appeal out through the Express & Star and we have had a wonderful response from the readers, we are so grateful to them all."

Asha is also grateful to the 20 drivers who deliver emergency seven day food parcels every Saturday, paying for their fuel out of their pocket, and who will be able to make more journeys this weekend thanks to Feed a Family.

In a message to Express & Star readers, editor Martin Wright said: “The response from our readers has been absolutely wonderful. These donations will make a huge difference to those struggling to put food on the table.

“On behalf of everyone at the Express & Star, thank you – your support is truly humbling.”

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