FEED Newport has shown the tragic effects the cost of living crisis is having on it, with donations dropping from 20 a week to just two a month.

Big gaps have appeared in the food bank, soup kitchen and community shop’s storeroom as it sees donations plummet due to the cost-of-living crisis.

To support organisations such as Feed Newport, South Wales Argus' publisher Newsquest has launched a fundraising appeal in partnership with Community Foundation Wales.

You can donate to the appeal here

Feed Newport manager Gemma Walker said she had never known anything like what she is seeing at the food bank right now.

“We used to have the kitchen open on a Friday and a Saturday, but because of our funding dropping we had to drop Saturday,” said Gemma.

“Our bills have gone up, our food prices have gone up, and the problem is our food donations have gone down because the public cannot afford to make donations at the moment. They need the money for themselves.”

Feed Newport, on the city’s Commercial Road, is one of south Wales’ only cultural food banks, catering for halal and dietary requirements meaning it can sometimes get large families relying on it for support.

One of the directors of the organisation, Ben Dobbs, said he had seen people dice dangerously with deadly loan sharks to try make up the current shortfall.

“The problem is food prices have skyrocketed,” said Mr Dobbs, “but the pay isn’t matching, so there is a massive shortfall and they are losing out. Hands down we are losing at the moment.”

When the Argus visited the shop it was after Friday’s soup kitchen had been held – always catering for a packed 40 people. Despite the door being locked people were still knocking and asking for help – as many as five people asked for something while we were there for 20 minutes, with Ben constantly passing what he could through the door.

In the food bank stockroom Gemma showed bare shelves, saying donations have plummeted, and while donations have gone down, one thing that’s gone up is anxiousness.

“I recently had a referral from an agency, he was new to the area, he came here and stood outside and he was anxious and that is what we are seeing, a lot of anxious people,” said Gemma.

“We see people not turning up for their parcels because of the stigma round asking for help. Nobody wants to ask for help when it comes to food, but we are in a world now where people are having to.”

South Wales Argus:

(Feed Newport has seen donations plummet from 80 a month in lockdown, to just two in January)

South Wales Argus:

(Gaps appearing in Feed Newports food bank stockroom)

How Communities Together – A Cost of Living Crisis Appeal works

A major new appeal is being launched that could see thousands of pounds given to community organisations across Wales that are helping ordinary people deal with the crippling effects of the cost-of-living crisis, such as Feed Newport.

Community Foundation Wales is partnering with Newsquest to launch the Communities Together – A Cost of Living Crisis Appeal, with readers and businesses donating money which will be given out as small grants to community organisations.

Crucially, supporters are attached to the appeal who will match donations. So for every £1 readers give (up to a total of £25,000), that will be worth £2. This is the same for business donations, with match funding agreed for up to £25,000 in donations from businesses in north and south Wales.

Watch the video below as Gemma appeals for support through Communities Together which could raise thousands for the food bank 

South Wales Argus:

(Gemma said it was her 8-year-old-daughter who inspired her to help)

Gemma said any funding would be a game changer and any money received would go to restoring the food bank to two days a week to try help so many more people.

As we finished speaking we asked Gemma, why she does it?  

“My daughter was eight at the time,” said Gemma as she began to tear up. “She said, ‘mum we are lucky’. It was coming up to Christmas 2019 at the time and I said ‘why?’ and she said, ‘because we get Christmas presents’. That’s when it came to me.

“We did a couple donations online then I came down here when it was Help The Homeless Cardiff and Newport, and I haven’t left since. I love it.”

To find out more about Communities Together – A Cost of Living Crisis Appeal go to www.communityfoundationwales.org.uk.

To donate, go to: www.communityfoundationwales.org.uk/our-communities-together-a-cost-of-living-crisis-appeal.