A new food bank opening in Boyle over the next few weeks is waking people up to the fact that a large number of local people are experiencing food poverty.
The project, co-ordinated by Tony Scanlon and the Family Life Centre, Boyle will have four food retailers providing non perishable and food that has reached the end of shelf life, but is still good to eat.
Tony Scanlon, who is a social worker and qualified chef organised a meeting in Boyle last week to figure out how much food will be needed and to seek volunteers. He says food poverty is a real problem in Leitrim, Roscommon and Sligo.
A recent study by Mandate and Unite Unions estimates there are 17,000 people experiencing poverty between the three counties, despite people working full time when rent/ mortgage and bills are paid there can be little left for food.
A Facebook page “Poverty & Homelessness” was set up recently to see how many families in the local area are going to work, school or are at home and are hungry and isolated.
The Family Resource Centre are using funds from the European Fund for Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) and will be working with FoodCloud, a company set up by two Trinity College graduates which uses technology to link retailers holding excess food with charities to provide food to individuals and families that need it.
Tony Scanlon and the Family Recourse Centre want people to contact them if they know about individuals experiencing food shortages and he says a system can be put in place to make food available.
The Food bank is based in Boyle but will reach into Leitrim and Sligo.
They have put structures in place meeting health and safety requirements pertaining to food handling and transportation in terms of refrigeration and freezing. They have been offered two rent free buildings which will act as a base for food distribution, depending on response levels.
You can Facebook the page Poverty and Homelessness, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Family Resource Centre in Boyle on 071 9663000.