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Residents help new eastside food bank with donations

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 03, 2014

Reverend Colin Dickson (right) with volunteers, Steffan Williams, Reverend Chris Lewis and Megan Wheatland of the East Side Food Bank.

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KIND-HEARTED members of the community have been thanked for their food bank donations.

Yesterday the Eastside Food Bank opened for the first time at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Bonymaen.

It will now be open each Friday between 11am and 1pm.

Reverend Chris Lewis said organisers had been delighted with the support from the community.

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"We have got a cupboard full with stuff," he said.

"We are also widening the range so that people have access to other essentials like personal hygiene things. We are hoping that we will be able to provide nappies and things like that."

Reverend Lewis said there were drop off points at Swansea Civic Centre, the Guildhall and the local government office in Penllergaer.

"We are open on a Thursday from 6pm to 8pm which is when we get ready for the next day," he said.

"We are then open from 11am to 1pm on the Friday."

Six volunteers turned-up to the opening of the food bank yesterday, although Reverend Lewis said it was a quiet day for people in need.

"It was slow, but we expected that," he said.

"We are expecting it to get busier when the word gets out.

"The important message to get out about the food bank is we are a community food bank.

"It is embedded into the community."

Swansea Council's cabinet member for opportunities for children and young people, Mitchell Theaker, is also one of the organisers. "We are really pleased we have been able to set it up," he said.

"We are really grateful for everyone's donations and more people have been in touch saying they would like to volunteer.

"There are people from all sorts of backgrounds involved."

The number of people turning to food banks in Wales has more than quadrupled in two years.

Figures from 2011-2012 revealed the Trussell Trust helped 16,410 people. In 2012-2013 that rose to 35,653.

Between April 2013 and September 2013 1,577 people used Swansea's food bank, including 491 children and 1,302 people used Llanelli's.

At the Neath food bank 1,392 people used the facility between April and September 2013.

Figures from the food bank, based at Orchard Place Baptist Church, reveal that in December 2013 439 people were recipients of food — and 157 of those were children.

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