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Sunderland faith communities seek to provide food for families

The One for the Basket food parcel initiative has been launched to supply food to families struggling to feed themselves ...

A scheme has been launched in Sunderland to supply food to families struggling to feed themselves.

The One for the Basket food parcel initiative is led by the faith communities in the city and supported by organisations including Sunderland Partnership and the City Council.

The scheme, which will sees people donating food from their routine shop, was launched at Sunderland Minster by Sheila Bamber, Canon Provost of Sunderland, and Sunderland Mayor Councillor Iain Kay. Also at the launch was Lady Mayoress Councillor Barbara McClennan and representatives of other community and faith groups

One for the Basket is an extension of the work carried out by the Faith in Communities cluster group, who explored ways in which faith leaders could contribute more to the wellbeing of their communities.

There are a host of reasons why individuals and families may require an emergency food parcel to tide them over, including benefit changes resulting in delayed payments, problems arising from losing a job, low income, sickness, homelessness and getting into debt.

Shoppers are being asked to shop twice, once for themselves and secondly for others in the city who may be in need. An easy way to donate is to give the ‘extra’ item from ‘buy one get one free’ or ‘three for two’ offers which can make it easier on the pocket and simpler for everyone to donate. Gifts of food can be anything with a long shelf life such as tinned products or packets and boxes of dried foods.

There are already a number of distribution systems in the city but no central co-ordination, which is where One for the Basket comes in. Under the scheme, donation points are being established across the city. Sunderland faith and community groups are now working together to better co-ordinate the gathering of donations and distribution of food parcels.

Canon Sheila Bamber said: “In these times of rapid change this is a simple way for people to make a real difference and help those who need it most in their own communities. Since my arrival in the city, I have been struck by the friendliness and strength of the people here and it is initiatives like this that give everyone the chance to really get involved and to pull together.

“There are a lot of things going on in the city and together we can meet more of the need. Food poverty is an emerging problem in the city and this scheme is a way for people to help their neighbours.”

Details of collection and distribution points can be obtained from Sunderland Minster on 0191 565 4066 or

Photo: Keith Blundy/Aegies Associates


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