LAST week twenty six pallets of tinned and dried foods - including over 13,500 tins of beans and 11,500 tins of peas - arrived in Coleraine, along with six pallets of nappies and four pallets of toiletries.
The enormous load will form the basis of the Sunday Food Giveaway at Causeway Coast Vineyard, where 40 to 50 households will receive free food packs every week.
More than 700 families struggling with food poverty have registered with the project over the past two years.
The delivery will also resource a new Compassion Project at Causeway Coast Vineyard - ‘Emergency Essentials’ - a service which will provide a one-off pack of food and essential toiletries to any family in emergency need or crisis if referred by an organisation who has partnered with the project.
The Emergency Essentials project is available to any individual or family who finds themselves in a place of crisis, trauma and/or extreme circumstantial change and is referred by an agency to Vineyard for help.
This includes new arrivals to a homeless shelter or refuge, those recently made homeless, those waiting on a DHSS claim or whose benefits have been stopped due to reasons beyond their control.
Agencies in the community who work with those in need can register with Emergency Essentials and then refer their clients to the team.
Once a partnership with the agency is set up, Emergency Essentials will accept referrals for clients who they have assessed as needing ‘emergency’ assistance.
Ricky Wright of Causeway Coast Vineyard, told Times: “This extends our Sunday Food Giveaway programme to include an emergency response element, working alongside referral organisations that will carry out an assessment of emergency need. We can then deliver the packs to families in crisis.
“The high street value of the items received are around £40,000 and have been kindly donated by the HIS FOOD charity in Lincolnshire, England for a donation of £3,600. HIS FOOD is a Christian charity that receives surplus food from the food industry to pass on projects that will freely distribute to the needy.
“The 36 pallets filled a full 40ft articulated lorry, which was kindly delivered by Causeway Pallets and Transport Ltd at a very charitable rate. We couldn’t have accomplished this without them!”
Ricky added: “Our needs assessment showed that many organisations currently helping people in need all point to a gap in local provision where people in crisis cannot access emergency help for food and essential items.
“We would be providing much needed assistance to these organisations to provide for their existing clients. It will also build relations and bring together different community organisations in a collaborative project.”
If you would like more information or would like to help support the Sunday Food Giveaway or the Emergency Essentials project, contact Ricky Wright at the Vineyard office on 70326161 (ext 5).