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Smartphone app BanktheFood aims to boost donations to Bishop’s Stortford Food Bank

Bishop’s Stortford Food Bank is appealing to supporters to download a new smartphone app.

It reminds shoppers to buy the charity’s “most-needed” items and leave them in donation boxes at the town’s supermarkets.

The BanktheFood app is free to all food banks in the country and users can follow their local organisation for updates.

David Wilson Homes donates to Bishop's Stortford Food Bank
David Wilson Homes donates to Bishop's Stortford Food Bank

The charity, based at the Methodist Church in South Street, said: “It means our shelves are filled with the items most needed. Perhaps give it a try!”

The food bank has helped more than 18,000 since it was founded a decade ago. In 2023, its volunteers provided 1,496 food parcels – the equivalent of five days’ food for 3,455 people. In December alone it fed 433 people in need.

Over the year, the charity, which works with Citizens Advice East Herts to provide a holistic advice service, was also able to distribute more than £30,000 in vouchers for fresh produce and household essentials and 236 fuel top-ups for households with pre-payment meters.

Greater Anglia staff collected donations for the food bank
Greater Anglia staff collected donations for the food bank

Compared to 2022 there was a 17% increase in food support and a 33% increase in fuel support.

Chair of trustees Bill Macdonald said: “During the past year, we’ve noticed that the amount of food donated at the local supermarkets has fallen off. At the same time, demand has continued to grow, so to cope we have had to buy increasing amounts of food to ‘top up’ our food boxes.

“While we have sometimes struggled to meet this increased demand, I’m happy to say that, despite things creaking a bit, we have just about coped. We are truly grateful that so many care about food poverty and support us so well.

“On the other hand, it is worrying that so many people in our town, many of whom are in work, are increasingly unable to feed themselves and their children. Dare we hope for a world where food banks are a thing of the past? I would like to think so.”

Tees Law staff donated to the food bank
Tees Law staff donated to the food bank

The items the food bank needs most are: Toilet rolls, UHT milk, tinned meat and fish, long-life fruit juice, tinned vegetables, crisps and chocolates, baked beans and spaghetti, biscuits, tea and coffee, toiletries – shampoo, shower gel, toothpaste, deodorant and sanitary products – nappies and baby wipes.

The food bank is also appealing for volunteer drivers to help deliver parcels.

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