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Cornwall's Foodbank Crisis

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1:47pm 20th February 2014
(Updated 1:47pm 20th February 2014)

A Camborne mum and her husband who lost their jobs with a new baby to feed say they turned to the foodbank out of total panic.

Pirate FM has learnt centres across Cornwall gave out a 150 thousand meals last year.

This half-term, volunteers at Camborne, Pool and Redruth are feeding around 200 children who normally get free school meals.

On one afternoon alone, the centre gave out 600 meals in just 15 minutes.

The mum who did not want to be named said: "I lost my job, my partner lost his job and he's now on the sick, just finding it really hard, new baby as well which wasn't really planned but just trying to keep above water really.

"I did panic like you wouldn't believe not knowing where I was going to get the next meal from at one point for the four of us, until I found out about this place and it just makes it so much easier."

This year the Duchy's foodbanks are expecting figures to reach 250 thousand.

CPR Branch Manager Don Gardner said: "People are struggling, they cannot live on their income. Where we used to be a sticking plaster for a problem or a big bill, but now it's a way of life, people just cannot manage.

"At the request of the Heads we have again lauched our school meals programme, where we will provide children that are on free school meals during the term, meals during the holidays. About 200 have picked up the vouchers."

This as Cornwall adds its voice to a letter to the Prime Minister blaming the government for a national crisis of hardship and hunger.

The Bishop of Truro, Tim Thornton is amongst 27 clergy laying into cuts and benefit reform. The letter to David Cameron said: “We often hear talk of hard choices. Surely few can be harder than that faced by the tens of thousands of older people who must ‘heat or eat’ each winter, harder than those faced by families whose wages have stayed flat while food prices have gone up 30% in just five years.

“Yet beyond even this we must, as a society, face up to the fact that over half of people using foodbanks have been put in that situation by cut backs to and failures in the benefit system, whether it be payment delays or punitive sanctions."

"We urge those of all faith and none, people of good conscience, to join with us. There is an acute moral imperative to act. Hundreds of thousands of people are doing so already, as they set up and support food banks across the UK. But this is a national crisis, and one we must rise to. We call on government to do its part: acting to investigate food markets that are failing, to make sure that work pays, and to ensure that the welfare system provides a robust last line of defence against hunger."




1:47pm 20th February 2014

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