WE are today launching a month-long foodbank appeal to help some of Gwent’s most vulnerable people.

Many people across Gwent go hungry every single day and turn to foodbanks to combat their hunger.

Christchurch Centre, based at Malpas, Newport, is one of a handful of Trussell Trust foodbanks across Gwent, whose volunteers rely on donations to put together food packages to feed some of the most vulnerable.

We have now launched an appeal and are calling on people to donate food items.

South Wales Argus editor Nicole Garnon said: “We are starting a collection in the South Wales Argus office because after Christmas donations to foodbanks tend to fall off.

“Christchurch Centre do an excellent job in looking out for the most vulnerable people in our midst.”

Tony Graham, the director of Trussell Trust Wales – which has many foodbanks in Gwent – said he is grateful for any support.

He said: “Foodbanks rely on donations from their communities to ensure local people referred receive vital emergency food, and we are always grateful for and humbled by the incredible support people across Wales show to foodbanks.

“Last year the need for emergency help remained high throughout the cold winter months, so as we approach the start of this new year we are thankful for any support you can offer to your local foodbank.”

Christchurch conference director Jon Slocombe said he was “humbled” by the campaign.

“The publicity we have been given by the Argus has been fantastic and I cannot say thank you enough,” he said.

“I hope as many people as possible will be able to donate to the campaign. It is humbling. This will reach a lot of people who are in need of our support.

“I would also like to say thank you to the people of Newport who have been fantastic in their help over the years.”

The most needed items include long-life juice, long-life milk, tinned/packed custard, tinned fish, jam, coffee, instant mash and tinned spaghetti.

The 52-year-old said that food donations would be most appreciated within the next few weeks.

“The donations we had around Christmas are fantastic,” said Mr Slocombe.

“But soon Christmas will be forgotten and that is when people start to forget about making food donations. It gets hard for us as a foodbank around that time.

“Sadly there is a lot of people out there that need our help. That is why every donation made to us counts.”

Figures from the charity Trussell Trust show a steady increase in food bank usage across Gwent last year.

From April to September 2016 1,628 food parcels were delivered in Blaenau Gwent which rose to 2,003 the following year, Caerphilly rose from 2,529 to 2,624, Newport rose from 1,242 to 1,439, Torfaen also rose from 2,863 to 2,883. Monmouth was the only area of Gwent to see a fall in food parcel deliveries from 1,139 to 1,007.

Mr Slocombe said that any donation made would quickly be sent back into the community.

He said: “We ensure that the food and money donations will reach the community.

“We would be grateful for food donations because it will help a lot of people. But if you are to make a donation, it is important that people donate long-life products – especially long-life milk.

“But any support that we get will be good and all of it will be put into the food bank.”

He added: “People can also make cheques and that will be used to help our foodbank.”

Cheques can be paid to Newlife Trust and sent to Christchurch Centre, Malpas Road, Newport, NP20 5PP.

Please write ‘foodbank’ on the back of the cheque.

If you are a city company willing to act as a drop-off centre, please ring 01633 777087