A food bank will be officially opened in Newhaven by MP Norman Baker next week in a bid to provide extra support to residents who are going hungry.
There has been a rise in the number of food banks in Sussex and across the UK in recent years, fuelled by rising food prices and unemployment.
It will provide a lifeline to families and individuals in crisis in Newhaven and the surrounding areas who are struggling to afford food.
Newhaven Community Devlopment Association (NCDA) was approached by East Sussex District Support Service to set it up.
NCDA education and well-being activities development worker Ronnie Fuller said: “The food bank has been under development for a good six months.
“We have noticed that people coming along to the employment project have needed referring to a food bank and there are a lot of welfare changes going on at the moment.
“I think in Newhaven we have an area of deprivation and I think we have realised this is a much needed service - people are struggling to pay the bills or feed the children.”
The town has high levels of deprivation and NCDA said local schools were finding children who were coming to school without having had any breakfast.
The Newhaven food bank will be opened by the town’s MP on Thursday September 26.
However it started on Monday September 9 and has already taken its first few referrals.
It will open on Mondays and Thursdays from 9am to 12 noon.
To get a food parcel, people will need to be referred by an agency to the food bank by a partner agency, such as schools, job centre, NewCEP, GPs, Health in Mind and other NCDA projects.
But NCDA said people were welcome to come into the shop and ask for advice on how to get a referral.
Each food parcel contains up to three days worth of food and all food is donated by the public with food collection points around Newhaven.
Staff and volunteers at the food bank will also be able to give people advice about activities or courses run by NCDA, such as its free cookery courses to show people what they can produce from their food parcels, or services offered by other agencies.
Longer term, NCDA is working with Sainsbury’s in Newhaven to obtain donations of fresh food, so volunteers can make frozen meals such as soup or pasta to put into the parcels.
People can donate food to the food bank at the following collection points: Sainsbury’s, Drove Road, Newhaven; 31a High Street (NCDA office); Denton Island Community Centre, Newhaven; 29a High Street (food bank premises); Newhaven Town Council offices, Fort Road, Newhaven; Meeching Valley Primary School and Sacred Heart Church, Fort Road, Newhaven.
A video report about the Newhaven Food Bank is available at our website www.sussexexpress.co.uk