East Sefton Labour MP Bill Esterson’s praise for Maghull & District Foodbank founders and volunteers as project is launched to help local people in need
Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson joined volunteers, campaigners and supporters at the launch of Maghull & District Foodbank last week.
Maghull & District Foodbank was launched at St Andrew's Church Hall.
The foodbank has been launched here in East Sefton in conjunction with national foodbank charity Trussell Trust.
Maghull & District Foodbank project leader, Elaine Clarke, said they have been overwhelmed by the generosity of local people.
Elaine told the launch event: "All the volunteers who help and give up their time for people they've never met, without them we couldn't do what we do. If it wasn't for the volunteers we wouldn't be able to do what we want to do.
"We are really grateful for the support that we get.
"Early on we realised what a huge task we had ahead of us getting this off the ground. But it is thanks to the people who have volunteered and have helped us that we have come as far as we have.
"Immediately following our first call for volunteers we had 42 people come along to help us. In that collection, we had 1.6 tons of food. It was fantastic. And the food has kept coming ever since.
"What I have found is that not one single person who comes to us for help wants to be there. They come because they have a need. They come because there's nowhere else to turn and in many cases we are their last resort and everyone of them has apologised for being there.
"In return, the local community has been extremely generous.
"People here realise that the people in need are people from this community, people who need our help. We will do all we can to help them."
Trussell Trust North West development officer, Linda Battarbee, said there is a real need here in East Sefton for the foodbank.
She said: "There are 42 foodbank projects now operating in the North West. Two years ago we had nine.
It takes a lot to set up a foodbank. You don't bother to set one up if there's no need for it. People here are in need.
"More than 84,000 people need to turn to a foodbank for help. That's 84,000 people who are facing the daily decision of whether to heat their homes or eat.
"We are seeing new mothers who can't breastfeed because they are so malnourished. People are being admitted to hospital. That's wrong. It cannot, and it must not, be allowed to continue.
"But because of the dedication and generosity of people, like here in Maghull and East Sefton, there is some hope where there is normally despair. Thanks to everyone in Maghull for supporting this foodbank."
Maghull & District chair of trustees, Bev Wells, thanked everyone for their support.
Bev said: "This foodbank is run by volunteers and I thank them for all their support, too many of them to name.
"But two people really stand out for the work they've put in and the dedication they've shown to get this foodbank off the ground, Elaine Clarke and Paul Downes. Without the work that they've done, we wouldn't be where we are now so I'd like to thank them.
"People have been so generous. We are overwhelmed and that's lots of people who are going to benefit."
East Sefton MP Bill Esterson said he was hugely impressed by the efforts of all of the volunteers involved in the project.
Bill said: "It is sad that foodbanks are needed in this day and age, but it is encouraging that there are people in our communities who are willing to help - and on such a large scale.
"It does take a lot of time and effort to set up a foodbank. The people involved in this project have done a fantastic job. The stories they tell of people's generosity here really is heartwarming. And the stories they tell of the people who are forced to turn to foodbanks for help are heartbreaking.
"I congratulate Bev, Elaine, Paul, all the volunteers who are involved and all those who who have donated."