BELFAST residents are being asked to help those less fortunate as the cross-community South-West Belfast Food Bank gets up and running.

Located at premises within the Stewartstown Road Regeneration Project, above the local Costcutter, the food bank is the product of the Colin Glen Christian Fellowship in partnership with the Trussell Trust, who work to provide emergency food and support to people in crisis here and across the water.

The South-West Belfast Food Bank started its operation in November and has already helped over 250 people.

“Our purpose is to provide immediate, short-term assistance in times of crisis,” explained Project Manager John Duffy. “Our aim is to provide practical help and support to people and families facing sudden difficulties due to personal crisis, late payment of wages or non-payment of benefits. We are not a drop-in centre as such or self-referral but work with statutory agencies, health workers and the Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABs) to help those in need. Care professionals initially refer families and individuals to a food bank by way of a voucher system enabling recipients to receive three days emergency food provision. The areas we are seeking to cover include the Glen Road, Andersonstown, Stewartstown Road, Lenadoon, Suffolk estate, Blacks Road and Dunmurry.”

The food bank have already received donations and currently are storing all dried and tinned goods, nappies and women’s hygiene products onsite ready for distribution. Volunteer Karen King said that the need to help other is growing more urgent by the day.

“If you go back, I mean I know the community has changed from what it used to be, but people remember what it was like to be hungry and to live from hand to mouth, they may be a little bit more affluent than what they were but they are still generous enough to give,” she said. “It’s so easy to donate because if we go on a food collection, say to Asda, we hand out the leaflets to ask people to contribute an item as we have a trolley ready on the way out. It’s been great to see people enjoying giving.”

As the organisation begins to bed in at their premises the team said they would welcome “all practical help, support and positive input.”

“We would greatly welcome and appreciate any offers of help, donations no matter how small or seemingly insignificant,” said Karen. “We in the Fellowship believe that there is the desire still for people to help each other. For people to help others still exists within our communities and it is this principle which underpins our own desire to provide immediate, practical, compassionate help to those who for whatever reason are vulnerable and experiencing food poverty.”

South-West Foodbank is open to receive donations of non-perishable foods on Mondays from 6.30pm to 8pm.

For more details visit Facebook/swbfoodbank or telephone 07938706552.