No sign of Oswestry and Border Foodbank being able to close
“We have had grown men walk in and cry and beg for help. This is not something we want to do, but it is something we have to do.”
That was the message from Oswestry and Border Foodbank manager Liz Jermy as she outlined the work of the service to councillors.
Ms Jermy was speaking at the annual meeting of Oswestry Town Council.
She told members that the service had helped hundreds of people in the town and gave out 27,000kg of food to those in need in the past year.
She also added that the service’s debt coach had helped people with debts ranging from £2,000 to £72,000 in that time.
She said the foodbank, which runs in both Oswestry and Ellesmere, but also helps people as far and wide as Llangollen and Llanfyllin, is expanding.
But she said that was the opposite of what the team of volunteers wants.
She said: “This is not good. We do not want to be expanding. It is a hard time for people at the moment and we are seeing more people come to us.
“We have had grown men walk in and burst into tears. They cry and beg us for help. It can be a huge thing when you have been used to being independent and looking after yourself for all your life to have to ask for help.
“It is not an easy thing to do to walk through those doors and seek help, especially if you are a provider and have been looking after someone like children.”
Ms Jermy said a range of churches and schools help out with donations, as well as collection boxes in supermarkets.
She said the foodbank does more than offer parcels as well, even putting a homeless women in a B&B over Christmas.
"We had a call to say there was a lady on the streets in town on December 23 last year and we could not go home for Christmas leaving her there,” she said.
“There have been some fantastic donations at Christmas time and indeed at harvest time and we thank everyone for their help.
“We want to stop doing this, but judging by the most recent forecasts that is not going to happen in the near future.”
She said people get referred to the foodbank and are given vouchers to exchange for food parcels.
She said 342 vouchers were handed out by CHALK CIC, which helps the homeless and those in need, 67 by Cambrian Medical Centre, 56 by Citizens Advice and 87 others in the past year as well as others.
Councillor Paul Milner said: “I want to thank you for your vital work. If you had told me when I was growing up in this town that one day we would have a foodbank I would never have believed you.
“It is sad. But I want to say thank you for your work.”
Councillor Jay Moore added: “I think if we all look out for each other more can be done as a community.”