A new food bank has been set up to deal with what a churchman described as a the “dreadful social problem” of people going hungry.
The Rev Canon Kevin Partington spoke at the opening of The Pantry, a food bank and charity shop opened in Empire House by Fusion Housing and Kirklees Council.
There are already a handful of food banks based in North Kirklees, mainly in churches, but the new service aims to provide a central service for the needy.
Mr Partington told a gathering at the opening on Tuesday: “Forty people attended the Minster on Monday morning for food parcels, because they just couldn’t cope.
“This is a dreadful social problem and I applaud what Fusion Housing are proposing.
“Together we can do great things for the most vulnerable in our community.”
Mr Partington has spoken previously about the “massive escalation in demand” he has seen for food parcels, which many feel is down to the recession and government benefit cuts.
Coun Eric Firth (Lab, Dews East) opened The Pantry. He said: “We are still one of the richest countries in the world, yet we have people going to their doctors to be referred for food parcels. I think it is terrible.”
Fusion Housing director Helen Minett said people would only be able to access food parcels if they were referred by another service. She said: “We wanted to create a better experience for people – so they might come for a food parcel, buy from the charity shop or have a sit down.”
Fusion Housing are also based in Empire House, so people can get help with jobs, benefits or help with rent arrears too.
If someone is referred to The Pantry, they will be given a food parcel with enough to last them for a few days, including fresh food. Family-sized parcels will also be available.