Magherafelt foodbank feeds hundreds in its first year

Mid Ulster DUP MLA Keith Buchanan with a volunteer at magherafelt Foodbank
Mid Ulster DUP MLA Keith Buchanan with a volunteer at magherafelt Foodbank

Magherafelt foodbank has been praised for its positive impact on the community after helping hundreds put food on the table in its first year.

During a visit to the centre, Mid Ulster DUP MLA Keith Buchanan, toured the facilities and met with some of its volunteers.

He told the Mail the foodbank, which is part of the UK-wide Trussell Trust Foodbank Network, has provided 238 three-day emergency food supplies to families in need since it opened its doors last year.

Almost half of those (106), were for children who would have otherwise gone without.

He said the top reason people were referred to the local foodbank was because of low income, with 22% of those heading there for that reason.

Sickness and benefit delays were the next most prolific reasons people asked for help, with 20% per cent citing sickness and 19% benefit delays.

The foodbank offers three day emergency food supplies to people referred by frontline professionals such as Social Services and CAP.

“Every week across Northern Ireland, volunteers at foodbanks talk to people who, hit by crisis and with nowhere else to turn, have been referred for emergency food,” said Mr Buchanan.

“In 2015-16, 25,755 three-day emergency food supplies were given to people in crisis by Trussell Trust foodbanks in Northern Ireland, and 11,155 were for children.

“But hunger isn’t something abstract found elsewhere in the country, it’s right here, in our own community.

“For just over one year now, there has been somewhere in Magherafelt for local people to come when they find themselves unable to afford food to put on the family table,” he added.

One young mum, who was admitted to hospital after two mini-strokes, found herself in need of the foodbank’s help after she was forced to stop working.

“The foodbank has been a god send for me and my two children,” she said. “I had to give up my job which made every day living so tough. I feel so blessed to have had my foodbank family there to help and listen.”

To find out more about the foodbank and how you can get involved see magherafelt.foodbank.org.uk