Church Angels food bank posts record number

A food bank in PORT says it has seen a record number of people seeking help.

Church Angels, which is based in Port Glasgow United Reformed Church, has reopened after helping at least 100 people before Christmas.

Minister Reverend Susan Henderson said it was a conscious decision to return soon after December 25 as there is such a need in the community.

Reverend Henderson said: “People always have a need to eat and we felt that if people came every week we should always provide provisions regardless of the holiday.

“The people who use us don’t have enough to stock up on food and their benefits have been reduced.”

Reverend Henderson said the number of people seeking help from the food bank has doubled since the service became a reception service.

She said: “People know that we are open and that we can come in.

“They only take what they need.”

In the first two days since Christmas, the team has helped 23 adults and 10 children.

Derek McDonald, a student minister working with Reverend Henderson at Greenock East United Reformed Church, said, “People struggle all the time.

The service has grown increasingly crowded since it opened after the lockdown and the number soared towards the end of the year.

Volunteer Margaret Wilson said: “Between June and Christmas, we helped 434 adults and 126 children – over 100 per month.

“It increased in October and November.

“I think this is due to universal credit and increasing fuel bills.

“I was talking to a young woman who had two children and she had a house, but had nothing to put in it.

“It was very sad.

“It’s the busiest we’ve ever been – when people called us for help, I’ve had 450/500 calls throughout the year.

“Now it’s for six months. ”

Reverend Henderson admits she doesn’t see the situation improving in the future.

She told Tele: “The fuel crisis has hit hard and I don’t think we’ll see the need for a food bank end.

“We have people who come once a month and just don’t have enough to last.”

In addition to the basics, the food bank was able to provide treats, cookies, tarts and selection boxes while partnering with the Salvation Army’s hit toy appeal.

Reverend Henderson would like to thank all the churches and individuals who supported the campaign.

* The food bank is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

Jerry B. Hatch