Belfast food bank `overwhelmed' by support following desperate plea for donations
A BELFAST food bank which last week made a desperate plea for donations after finding demand for its services had doubled has been "overwhelmed" by the support it has received.
It comes after The People's Kitchen, which is based on the Antrim Road in the north of the city, last week revealed it was in a "dire situation".
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the food bank, which also offers drop-in and outreach services for the homeless, would make up around 200 food parcels per week.
A year on and demand has seen the number rise to almost 400 per week.
It had also seen a huge increase in the need for its homeless outreach service with the number of nightly hot meals being served rising from up to 30 to up to 60.
Paul McCusker, who co-founded The People's Kitchen, told of how the cost of living crisis had fuelled the demand for help.
One week on from an appeal for help published in The Irish News, Mr McCusker yesterday revealed that the food bank had been "inundated" with offers of assistance, including financial donations of almost £5,000 being made to its website.
"We have been getting calls from people wanting to show financial support but also food support," he said.
"Our shelves have been filled again and we are overwhelmed with the support not just from across Belfast but from right across Northern Ireland.
"We got phone calls from as far away as Derry and Strabane.
"People organised online shopping for us where they got it delivered. People came down to the food bank and a lot of financial donations were made through the website.
"People went out and did their own shopping but added more for us. We are very grateful to all those people. It has allowed us to continue to deliver the important service.
"People had read the story in The Irish News and wanted to help. Almost £5,000 has been donated online following the story."
He added: "Over the Twelfth holiday, when many places are closed, we are open and still getting calls from people who are struggling.
"People sitting at home with no food. A lot of calls from people with no electric.
"We are open seven days a week and the calls just keep coming and demand is still very high."
**Donations can be made to The People's Kitchen at 1 Antrim Road at Carlisle Circus (at rear of building) or the service can be contacted on 078 4085 3089.
Financial donations can also be made online at www.peopleskitchenbelfast.org