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Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Monday, 22 February 2010
Wilts Food bank busier than ever
By Mark Jones
BBC Wiltshire

Devizes Food Bank logo
Devizes' Food Bank sends out prayers and food

Food banks across Wiltshire have been a staple fixture in the county for quite a while now.

Set up by the Trussell Trust charity, in Salisbury, there are now a number of branches of these banks around the county.

The aim of each and everyone is to help anyone who has hit the breadline and needs food.

Devizes Food Bank has been extremely busy recently - due to the snowy weather and recession.

This branch of the charity, which this article will focus on, was set up in October 2007.

Since then an average of 10 boxes of food have been issued every week.

Tins of food
Food Bank need your tinned food

Alan Beamish, who runs the Devizes Food Bank, said: "Poverty and hunger are not just third world problems, it can happen in relatively rich Wiltshire.

"We help everyone who needs it - the single mum, who's partner and breadwinner has just walked out. A victim of domestic violence whose had to leave their home, a youngster who's homeless and the business man who's just been made redundant.

"Unemployment and the severe cold weather has meant we have become even busier."

Prayers as well as food

The organisation is helped by agencies like the police, Citizen's Advice Bureau, housing associations and community groups as well as churches. They all help with the distribution of the food boxes.

Alan Beamish said: "The Bank is also running coffee mornings at St Andrew's church, Devizes, where people in crisis can pick up their food supplies and be offered other help and advice over a hot drink and in a friendly atmosphere.

we help anyone who is desperate and needs it
Alan Beamish - Devizes Food Bank

"The churches harvest festivals are always good to fill the coffers but collections are on going here as well as at some supermarkets in the town and the Curves women's gyms in Devizes and Melksham."

The Devizes Food Bank office is at St James's church in the town with the store room based at Gaiger Brothers, a local building company.

Snacks are always good

Alan said: "We are always looking for support, whether it's volunteers helping in the warehouse or offering a listening ear at one of the coffee mornings. If people are happy to do a couple of hours a month that is better than nothing. Anything is appreciated.

"We are always looking for food donations too, anything that is non-perishable like; tea bags, sugar, tinned food, biscuits, pasta, long life milk and snacks. Snacks are always nice to give as treats to those whose life is pretty dreadful at the moment.

"Along with the food we always send a Christian message and recipe ideas. We also ask helpers to say a prayer for those receiving the boxes."

Although based in Devizes the bank supplies to many surrounding villages and often as far as Marlborough, Pewsey and Tidworth.

If you can spare some time or some food contact the Devizes Food Bank via their website.




SEE ALSO
Food banks grow after recession
29 Jan 10 |  South
Supermarkets donate to food bank
28 Oct 09 |  Oxfordshire
Demand up for help from food bank
16 May 08 |  Wiltshire


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