Expanding Isle food bank set to introduce okery sessions

Epworth Baptist Church Minister Andy Wilkinson with food bank volunteer Janet Grayston

A food bank opened in the Isle by a church minister, in collaboration with other organisations, is feeding to increased demand.

The venture is now set to expand, by introducing fun drop-in cooking lessons for people to learn how to make best use of food parcels.

Epworth Baptist Church minister, Andy Wilkinson, launched the weekly facility last year after becoming aware of the need for it, as stricken families had to travel to Scunthorpe to receive help.

Mr Wilkinson said: “People may be surprised to know that residents in Epworth need a food bank as it is known as an affluent area, but anybody can be in need of help. Somebody may have just lost their job or a family member died. It can happen to anyone. Families become isolated, and referrals can come through at any time.”

He said the take-up of the service, supported by the Children’s Centre, Epworth’s Parish and Methodist Wesleyan Churches, is sporadic in terms of numbers dealt with but it is used every week. It has been particularly busy over the summer holidays, he added, when children have not received school meals.

Volunteers have joined the service, said Mr Wilkinson, and he has been “overwhelmed” by the donations from schools and churches to their cause. Food bank volunteers are willing to fetch harvest produce from schools after festivals for distribution, he added.

Apart from foodstuffs in the parcels the bank hands out, there are items such as nappies, baby milk and toiletries for those who need them.

The foodbank is open at the Baptist Church on Station Road from 2pm to 3.30pm every Thursday, when a coffee afternoon takes place with drinks, biscuits and chat on offer. Call 07543087121 for information or to volunteer help.

To access the food bank, Andy Wilkinson said people would need to be referred from an official organisation such as their doctor or a chid’s school. “This is just so we can keep track of who is accessing our services, when and where. Having said that we would never turn somebody away in need and people can always come in for a cup of tea, a biscuit and chat about their circumstances.

” The food bank is open every Thursday at the church from 2pm until 3.30pm. If you would like more information, or can help either as a volunteer or by donating food please call Andy on 07543087121.

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