Food Ministries

Food Ministries – Feeding the hungry of North Down

As the economy remains in the doldrums more and more people are finding themselves in dire straits, whether it’s the result of redundancy, unemployment, or sadly, just being unable to cope with the pressures of everyday life.

For many, it has simply come down to a basic choice – heat or eat, and even that for some, is a struggle. As a direct response to this crisis, people who care and who want to make a difference have come together to set up some form of ‘food ministry’ in their towns and cities with the aim of helping individuals and families get through these difficult times by supplying the basic foodstuffs to put a meal on the table.

North Down has it’s share of food poverty too, and two food ministries have been recently set up  to help relieve this hardship.

Storehouse North Down: ‘No-one in North Down should ever go hungry’

People aren’t really going hungry in North Down ….. are they?

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Helen Sloan, General Manager, Storehouse North Down said “ Having plenty of food in the cupboards is something we take for granted. But what would happen if your salary stopped? You might last a few weeks even a few months, but then where would you turn?”

“Hundreds of families in North Down live close to or at the edge of their finances. For many, simply getting by is a struggle, so when personal crisis hits – like redundancy, illness, homelessness or separation – finding the next meal can be a real challenge.”

Now, Storehouse North Down is somewhere where people in need can turn to for help.

Set up in September 2012 Storehouse North Down is a charity dedicated to be a real answer for those families and individuals across North Down who have no safety net. It was formed when many churches in North Down came together to fight poverty in Jesus’ name. Eight months on this vital food ministry is now supported by 35 local churches, statutory and voluntary agencies, businesses, schools, MLAs and individuals.

Based in a large warehouse in Bangor, Storehouse North Down is managed and staffed by volunteers. It is open every Monday and Thursday from 2.00-4.00pm, and on the first Tuesday of the month from 7.30-9.00pm. Food is supplied on an on-going basis by churches, schools and other bodies. Partnering with established and skilled agencies, charities and churches, Storehouse North Down works on a daily basis with families and individuals who are experiencing difficulties. Through these partnerships Storehouse North Down operates on a referral basis and connects with those most genuinely in need. The aim is to break the cycle of poverty that many, through no fault of their own, find themselves in, by providing emergency food packages. Each food package provides a family or individual with three days of emergency food which will be supplied up to six times over a six month period.

Since opening in September Storehouse North Down has now distributed over 1,100 food parcels to families and individuals right across North Down. Helen added “By partnering with these charities and bodies we are able to provide opportunities to see lives changed by long term solutions and not just short term aid. We work closely with our partners to help people move away from the need of support and to prevent dependency. We are also in the position of being able to draw alongside our clients and signpost them to specialist bodies and agencies who can offer them the additional help they require.”

Follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/storehousenorthdown or contact us on 07526 541168. Emailinfo@storehousenorthdown.com. If you would like to volunteer please send an email to volunteers@storehousenorthdown.com.

Storehouse is affiliated with Storehouse Belfast and is a registered charity, funded, staffed and run on a voluntary basis.

Bangor (NI) Foodbank

Bangor (NI) Foodbank is run by the Elim Church in Bangor, and is supported by the UK wide Trussel Trust.

Foodstuffs are mainly collected at local supermarkets – volunteers hand out leaflets to shoppers to encourage them to purchase an extra item with their shop, and deposit it at collection points as they leave. These food items are supplemented by donations of non-perishable items from local businesses, schools and individuals.

Once collected, the foodstuffs are sorted, dated and packed by volunteers, ready to be given to  people in need. Care professionals, such as doctors, health visitors, social workers, welfare officers and police officers can identify vulnerable people who they feel would benefit from a food parcel, and issue them with a voucher. Foodbank clients can then bring that voucher to Bangor Foodbank (NI) at the Elim Church on Balloo Road, where it can be exchanged for three days of emergency food. Volunteers are also on hand to meet clients to share refreshments or a hot meal and signpost them to agencies who can provide additional help and advice.

If you would like to know more about Bangor (NI) Foodbank, please contact Bangor Elim Church, Balloo Crescent, Bangor BT19 7WP. Tel 02891271800 or info@bangorNI.foodbank.org.uk