Calderdale food banks ready to help community as second lockdown looms

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Calderdale food banks have been working around the clock to prepare for people in need as the second lockdown looms.

Noah's Ark, in Ovenden Road, Halifax, and Focus4Hope, in Thornton Square, Brighouse, have been ramping up efforts to help Calderdale communities with food shortages over the colder months.

Both food banks are working with Community Foundation for Calderdale (CFFC) and Calderdale Council on two projects supporting school holiday hunger and food support.

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Andrew Sykes, from Noah's Ark, said: "For nearly 20 years Noah’s Ark has been a safe haven and place of hope for the community that we serve.

"When the pandemic hit back in March it was natural for us to want to make a positive contribution.

"Overnight Noah’s Ark reinvented itself as a food bank providing food parcels and ready-made frozen meals."

The team at Noah's Ark brought on board several local food businesses, including The Moorlands Inn and The Sykes Curry Company, and developed relationships with food suppliers such as Morrison’s PLC, Fareshare Yorkshire, Suma Wholefoods and others.

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The first project working with the CFFC includes a 10-week cooking-on-a-budget and healthy-eating program supporting low-income families.

Andrew Sykes with his team from Noah's ArkAndrew Sykes with his team from Noah's Ark
Andrew Sykes with his team from Noah's Ark

Families have been given a ready-made meal along with all the ingredients needed to recreate that meal later in the week.

Included are recipe cards to make the meal for four people and also to batch cook up to 20 portions.

Using learning from the first project and the last seven months of running a food support service, Noah's Ark have received funding to create a recipe booklet for distribution across schools in Calderdale.

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This will include 10 easy to make, inexpensive dishes but importantly it will contain information about the Ark's other services and how these will help those struggling.

Brighouse Central Foodbank working with businesses SumaBrighouse Central Foodbank working with businesses Suma
Brighouse Central Foodbank working with businesses Suma

Louise Reed, Founder of Brighouse food bank Focus4Hope, said: “It’s been a fantastic collaborative effort between local organisations to make sure that nobody goes hungry.

"By working together, we can reach more people across Calderdale than we could on our own and get the support where it’s needed the most.

"During times like these, where a lot of families are wondering where their next meal is coming from, it’s a vital service to provide.”

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Rebecca Snow, from Brighouse Central Foodbank, in Commercial Street, said: "Brighouse Central Foodbank supports two schools in our area with Food parcels during each school holiday and have done for over a year.

Brighouse Central Foodbank working with TescoBrighouse Central Foodbank working with Tesco
Brighouse Central Foodbank working with Tesco

"This term we supported three schools and we provided more bags to support families with lunches of the half term break who are struggling financially.

"We also opened our doors on a extra day, Tuesday, for families struggling to come and collect a parcel.

"We have had a huge amount of support from our community and local businesses include Suma foods who have all provided donations to do this piece of work."

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