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Food bank's 80 can challenge for Lent

By Heather Large | Dudley | News | Published:

A food bank has launched an 80 can challenge for Lent to help replenish vital supplies.

Jen Coleman and Sheila Wrigley with boxes filled with the items they would like donated

Following a drop in donations Black Country Foodbank is appealing for support to fill its shelves to ensure it doesn't run out of stock.

It's asking schools, businesses, community groups and individuals to help by collecting and donating 80 cans of food.

Jen Coleman, from Black Country Foodbank, which helps people across Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall, said: "The early months of the year can be a difficult time for Black Country Foodbank as donations drop off and we struggle to maintain our food stocks.

"Lent lasts 40 days and 40 nights so we challenge as many of you as possible to collect and donate 80 cans of food to Black Country Foodbank.

"In 2018 our resources were pushed to the limit but the generosity from schools, businesses and individuals meant that we provided 210,880 meals for those in crisis. We are asking for that support again this year so we can meet peoples most basic need, food. Please join our Lent 80 Can Challenge."

It need not just be cans – packets and toiletry items are very welcome too.

The food bank is appealing for items such as cartons of UHT milk and fruit juice,jars of cooking sauces, boxes of breakfast cereal, packets of mashed potato, jam and marmalade, small jars of coffee, tinned fruit and tinned meat such as ham and corned beef.

The main issue people face is benefits being delayed or stopped, which leaves them turning to the food bank for help, while the roll-out of Universal Credit has also left some families in debt.

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The food bank is also supporting many homeless people as well as rough sleepers and ‘sofa-surfers’.

It partners with around 250 local agencies in an effort to ensure that food goes those in genuine need.

It has a warehouse in Brierley Hill where every item donated is logged and stored before it is delivered to its 21 distribution centres.

Around 40 volunteers work sorting donations and ensuring they are delivered to the different centres depending on demand.

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Every item is checked and the best before date written on it to ensure supplies are used in the right order.

They are stored by food type to make it easier for supplies to be gathered and for monitoring of stock.

People can visit the distribution centres to exchange vouchers for three days of emergency food supplies.

To find out more about how to help see www.blackcountryfoodbank.org.uk

Heather Large

By Heather Large
Special projects reporter - @HeatherL_star

Senior reporter and part of the Express & Star special projects team specialising in education and human interest features.

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