School summer holidays leave Rhyl foodbank struggling to match demand

Reporter:

Duncan Rieder

A food bank has been left struggling due to huge demand over the summer holidays.

Organisers of the Kings Storehouse in Rhyl say they are under pressure because children on holiday do not have access to school meals during the week, putting increasing pressure on at-risk families.

The food bank is operated out of a refitted container at Rhyl Football Club by volunteers from the Wellspring Christian Centre. It is unfunded, relying entirely on donations.

The charity says there have been plenty of donations but it does not have the space to store the quantity of food needed to meet demand.

The Rev Mike Bettaney, who helps run the scheme, said: “We’ve been blown away by the generosity of the people of Rhyl.

”We have quite a big presence now, with a big sign and a drop-off point in Sainsbury’s.

”But we wouldn’t have the space if everybody in Rhyl brought a tin of beans.

“It really is an issue of having more need than food we could possibly store here.”

To ensure food goes to the families in most need, the Kings Storehouse insists claimants be referred by organisations like the Citizens Advice Bureau, the NHS and social services and it prioritise Rhyl families with dependents. Cllr Brian Blakeley, who represents Rhyl South East on Denbigshire County Council, said: “Due to the Government cap on welfare, it’s been exceptionally hard over the summer holidays for parents to find an extra meal every day for six weeks.

“You wouldn’t believe we live in one of the richest countries in the world. It really is a choice whether to pay the rent, buy electric, buy gas or eat, for working families and pensioners too.”

But he added: “This isn’t a new problem.

“When I was a governor at Ysgol Llewelyn, I saw staff bringing in extra food for pupils, but families are being squeezed more and more every year – it’s getting out of hand.”

Email:

duncan.rieder@nwn.co.uk

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