Food parcel crisis to hit families in need in Boston

Food parcels for families in need could be set to dry up if stocks at a Boston charity continue to fly off the shelves in the face of big demand.

Centrepoint Outreach has been distributing food to rough sleepers and families in need for years – made up from donations of tinned and dried goods.

Some shelves in the food bank are now empty as food shortages start to run dry. Pictured is Lesley Goodale, project manager, with Liz Hopkin, CEO.

Some shelves in the food bank are now empty as food shortages start to run dry. Pictured is Lesley Goodale, project manager, with Liz Hopkin, CEO.

But a shortage of donations has left staff at the Red Lion Street charity concerned they will soon run out altogether.

“At the minute the food is flying off the shelves as the demand is so high,” said Liz Hopkins, chief executive officer at the charity.

“We are actually getting quite worried now as it’s going to come to a point soon where there’s nothing left.”

The charity aims to provide a balanced meal through the food parcels it gives out. But when The Standard visited the food bank on Monday there were about a dozen empty shelves – with the greatest shortages in tinned meats and vegetables.

Some 25 parcels were distributed over four weeks in July – many of which were large enough to feed a family for a week.

Lesley Goodale, project worker at the charity, said: “Sometimes it’s just helping people out in a crisis, such as when the main breadwinner has left the family and they are struggling to feed themselves.”

“It takes about 21 tins of meat to cover a family of six for a week which means the tins are going down very quickly,” said Mrs Hopkins.

Centrepoint Outreach puts the increased demand for food parcels in Boston down to the changes in the benefits system, with many people getting less money.

Mrs Hopkins added: “We think the problem is only going to get worse with the advent of universal credit.”

The charity needs tinned potatoes, vegetables and meats, such as corned beef, meatballs, hotdogs, mince and onion, chicken, meatballs.

They also need dried pasta, pasta sauces, jams and marmalades.

Only tinned or dried food that is within its use-by date, can be accepted. This includes cereal, teabags and biscuits.

The charity is selective over who receives the food parcels and checks are carried out to ensure they only go to those most in need.

“We don’t dish out the food parcels willy-nilly,” said Mrs Hopkins. “The food parcels are not an alternative to a family’s weekly food shop. It’s really an emergency for people who are at rock bottom and don’t have any food.

*To donate food, you can take it to the drop-off centre in Red Lion Street, 9.30am-12.15pm and 2-3.45pm. If this is closed they can be dropped at the charity shop next door.