Leeds and Yorkshire Housing Association (LYHA) is helping those who are experiencing food poverty this season with a donation of much-needed food to the Leeds South and Leeds East Foodbanks run by Trussell Trust.
LYHA has also donated £260 towards the charity’s vital work, through fundraising efforts and in place of sending out a company Christmas card.
Over recent weeks colleagues have been collecting much-needed supplies from the foodbank’s shopping list and delivered them to the Leeds South distribution centre in Belle Isle.
The foodbanks provide vital support to areas of Leeds where more than a third of the LYHA homes are located including its largest scheme, The Elmetes in Roundhay.
The items donated include essential supplies such as rice, pasta, tea, coffee, sugar and long-life milk, fruit juice, tinned fish, meat and vegetables; as well as some treats which will then be sorted and parcelled up by volunteers for those in food crisis.
Since opening in October 2013, the Leeds South Foodbank has helped over 3,168 people who have been referred by a range of statutory and voluntary organisations to access a three-day emergency food supply.
Leeds is served by four Trussell Trust food banks with the Leeds East Foodbank opening just over two months ago in response to growing demand. In 2013-14, Trussell Trust food banks supported 37,403 people in Yorkshire including 12,236 children.
The donation comes at a time when there is increasing awareness of research into food poverty, child poverty and growing use of food banks.
The latest Real Life Reform report revealed that the use of food banks had doubled in three months and more than one in every five households involved in the study had used a food bank.
Real Life Reform is a major study by housing providers into the lives of up to 100 Northern households affected by welfare reforms.
The study seeks to investigate how the lives of those affected by welfare reform are changing, looking at their housing, health, wellbeing, financial, and education and employment prospects.
Other findings of the research, which began in September 2013 and interviews case studies every three months, include that the average spend on food per person per day is just £3.28 and that two-thirds (66 per cent) of those taking part in the study spend less than £40 per week on food.
Lisa Pickard, chief executive of Leeds and Yorkshire Housing Association (LYHA) said: “We see the impact of food poverty day in, day out; and it’s getting worse.
“At LYHA we felt driven to help wherever we could, and as an organisation this donation is one of the ways we are trying to help.
“I am so proud of the way the team has responded to local issues.
“We are now a food bank distributor which means our staff can identify the need and make a referral for food bank support and locally we are working in communities to try and tackle poverty.
“Through Real Life Reform we aim to raise awareness of how real people are affected and share this information to those who can help to do something about it.
“Food banks shouldn’t be needed but whilst they are we continue to support them to deliver the invaluable support they provide to many families.”
Linda Jackson, project manager for Leeds South and East Foodbanks said: “We are extremely grateful to the staff at Leeds and Yorkshire Housing Association for the food they have donated and also to the association for its donation of funds.
“Support like this is vital in helping us to help people desperate for emergency food, especially during what is supposed to be the festive season.
“Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income and for many this time of year serves as even more of a reminder of what they haven’t got, and what they so desperately need.”
The Trussell Trust partners with churches and communities to open new foodbanks nationwide.
With over 420 foodbanks currently launched, the Trussell Trust’s goal is for every town to have one. The charity opens two new foodbanks every week due to growing demand.