When the food parcel arrives parents in homes across Limerick, Clare and North Tipperary breathe a sigh of relief.
It is estimated that the Food Bank can save under-pressure families as much as €200 a month. This money can be used to pay rent and bills instead thereby reducing the risk of homelessness.
Established in Limerick by the Simon Community; the Mid West Food Bank distributed 55 tonnes of food last year to 5,000 people with 3,000 of those being children.
“We wanted to initiate a programme which has maximum benefit for people and families who are struggling. It’s an intervention which can prevent them from tipping into crisis, it helps with a precarious balancing act,” explains Jackie Bonfield, Mid West Simon’s General Manager.
National Lottery Funding for Good Causes
Key to the establishment of the Food Bank in 2014 was a grant from National Lottery funding for good causes of €15,000.
“Without the National Lottery funding we wouldn’t have been able to get up and running because it allowed us to purchase the fridges and the dry food storage areas for the three sectors that we operate the food bank from,” says Jackie. And once set up the Food Bank was able to apply for FEAD (The Fund for European Aid to the most Deprived) via the Department of Social Protection.
“We qualified for funding until 2020 through FEAD which will see food delivered to us every month so our 16 volunteers and staff can keep this vital service going. Without the National Lottery funding for good causes we simply wouldn’t have been in a position to access further funding,” said Jackie.
For those in need, the Food Bank means they have one less worry to think about each week as Jackie Bonfield explains: “Those who use the Food Bank are often working. They might be on zero hour contracts, on low incomes or over-stretched during the boom. We reach out to families to help them find a way through the most difficult of times.”
Approximately 30 cent of every €1 spent on games go back to National Lottery funding for Good Causes in the areas of sport, youth, health, welfare, education, arts and heritage. In total, more than €5 Billion has been raised for Good Causes since the National Lottery was established 30 years ago. In 2016 alone, the National Lottery raised over €210 million for such good causes.