Foodbanks prepare for busiest Christmas period yet
A charity which runs foodbanks across Northern Ireland has said it faces its busiest Christmas season ever.
The Trussell Trust has revealed that 6,101 people here were given three-day emergency food supplies during December last year in what was the busiest single month of 2017.
Over the financial year from April 2017 to March 2018 32,433 people in the north used foodbanks.
Across the UK, 159,388 emergency packages were handed out last December with 65,622 of these going to children.
The Trussell Trust’s chief executive Emma Revie said: “Christmas is supposed to be a time for joy but what we’re seeing is the festive period becoming increasingly stressful for more and more people across the country. Our benefits system is supposed protect us all from being swept into poverty – but what we’re seeing is people struggling to heat homes and put food on the table because they simply cannot afford the basics anymore and that just isn’t right.
“We know it doesn’t have to be like this. In the short-term we’re urging the public to donate generously during the first part of December and into the new year, as unfortunately the need for foodbanks is not going to end after Christmas."
Click here to find out how you can donate to a foodbank.
The Door of Mercy soup kitchen at St Patrick's Church on Donegall Street in Belfast will be open on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7pm - 11pm in December while on Christmas Day it will open from 10am - 2pm.
Locations of food banks in Northern Ireland
Green Pastures, The Peoples Church, Fenaghy Road, Galgorm, Ballymena, BT42 1AQ
Unit 10, 41 Ballymena Road, Ballymoney, BT53 7EX
How to get help
Balloo Crescent, Bangor, Co Down, BT19 7WP
75 Woodburn Road, Carrickfergus, Co Antrim, BT38 8PS
Causeway Coast Vineyard, 10 Hillmans Way, Ballycastle Road, Coleraine, Derry, BT25 2ED
The Lightwell Centre, Drumgor Heights, Craigavon, Co. Armagh, BT65 5BW
The Beacon, Above Chimes Coffee, Church Street, Portadown, BT62 3LQ
The Hope Centre, 46 High Street, Lurgan, BT66 8AW
971 Upper Newtownards Road, Dundonald, Belfast, BT16 1RL
Craigyhill Methodist Church, Brustin Brae Road, Larne, BT40 2HS
First Larne Presbyterian Church, Inver Road, Larne, Co. Antrim
Old Tone 'n' Ten Building, LCC Community Trust, Graham Gardens, Lisburn, BT28 1XE
GAP Ministries, Eden House, 38 Main Street, Moira, BT67 0LE
Newry Christian Centre, 8 Upper Edward St, Newry, BT35 6AX
Thriving Life Church, Compassion Centre, 18c Crawfordsburn Road, Newtownards, BT23 4EA
Kircubbin satellite branch, Room 2, Maxwell Courtyard, Main Street, Kircubbin (beside Mauds ice cream)
Ekenhead Halls, 19 North Circular Road, Belfast, BT15 5HB
Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 35 Agnes Street, Belfast, BT13 3GG
5B Church Street, Co. Tyrone, BT82 8BS
BT1 1NA, 39 North Street, Belfast
5 Castle Park Road, Bangor BT20 4TF