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Keighley: Living Lights look to help families in crisis

High levels of food poverty and fuel debt make Keighley one of the most deprived areas in West Yorkshire, according to a newly established charity ...

High levels of food poverty and fuel debt make Keighley one of the most deprived areas in West Yorkshire, according to a newly established charity.

Living Lights Christian Outreach, founded by Keighley couple Patrick and Liz McDonnell, says that in some cases up to 46% of family income is spent on heating homes, increasing the pressure on household incomes and creating a food crisis for many families.

“People are finding themselves in crisis because of unemployment, redundancy, homelessness, debt and addiction, and there’s a hidden story of families in our community who are struggling to feed themselves or heat their homes,” says Patrick.

“We’ve witnessed appalling living conditions as we reach out a hand of hope to desperate families by providing emergency food bags and bedding packs.”

Patrick and Liz set up the charity last year and brought together a team of volunteers, who run a mobile food bank and outreach service, in parts of the town where they’re needed most. The team also take referrals from local agencies, and visit people in need in their homes.

“As well as food we offer friendship, advice and support. Every week we reach more and more people. We’re now handing out 50 bags each week and that’s 500 items of food,” adds Patrick.

“The general view is that although local agencies and churches are aware of the acute food and fuel poverty in Keighley, they are overwhelmed by the level of need. We have taken the lead in this challenge and need help from everyone in the community to continue our work. We are tackling the problem of food poverty head on by reaching out to the families that need our help the most, and supporting them to make positive change.”

“We will always need more help and more support. We’re about to launch a website and raise our profile in the area; it’s about drawing attention to a crisis that won’t go away overnight. So we need to encourage local churches, community groups and businesses to help us tell our story and support our work.”

The charity is supported by ASDA store, Keighley and hold food collection days, where people donate food as they shop. Future ASDA dates are 11 September, 23 October, 24 November and 11 December.

If anyone would like to support Living Lights in its work they can contact Patrick on 07401 999399 or Liz on 07830 855544.

The Living Lights UK website address is http://www.livinglightsuk.org

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