Ipswich: More food parcels handed out as rising prices take toll

ESCALATING food prices are taking their toll on poorer families, with more and more having to rely on charity donations.

Families in Need (Find) handed out nearly double the number of emergency food parcels in 2011 compared to the previous year, and they claim it is because the ever-increasing cost of groceries is just too much for those on the lowest incomes.

Chairman Maureen Reynel said 378 parcels were made up in 2010 in comparison to the 542 given out in 2011.

“It all points back to what is going on across the country and the rest of the world, and with benefits being changed or lessened, it has a knock-on effect,” she said. “The cost of food has just escalated over the last few months. Even the low-cost food is no longer cheap – not when you’re working on a tight budget.”

Explaining that the must vulnerable families are being dealt a double blow with gas and electric prices also rising, she added: “Most of these people are on key cards and have to pay more for their utilities than those who can have them on direct debit.”

Find’s food parcels contain the basics that can be used to make balanced meals and are designed to last families for a week.

The charity was set up in 1990 by Mrs Reynel, who originally worked as a co-ordinator at a charity restaurant before opening the doors of Find. Her desire to help others is driven by the fact that she often went without the basics when she was younger.

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On top of the food parcels sent out throughout the year, the charity puts together extra large hampers to give families a little luxury over Christmas. This time around 1,000 food hampers were put together and 970 of those were sent out to those in need, compared to 873 in 2010.

As well as food donations, the charity gives presents and aid to more than 1,100 children and 1,000 adults on its books. Mrs Reynel is supported by a base of around 10 volunteers throughout the year and around 30 at Christmas. “Barclays came on board over Christmas,” she added. “We’ve all had a gripe about bankers but these people gave up their holidays and free time to help.”

Around 15 churches are part of the Find network in Ipswich who work together to help the poorest families. Those receiving presents and food parcels are referred to Find by social services and support groups.

Mrs Reynel said to her Find is a vocation, not a job. “If somebody has a need I make sure there’s something sorted,” she added.

n Have you been helped by the charity? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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