Food

Hundreds of families face going hungry as Manchester foodbank is just days away from ‘breaking point’

A foodbank is ‘close to breaking point’ as donations wear thin and referrals continue to rise in their hundreds.

Didsbury charity Perry’s Pantry may have to tell over 300 people that they will have to go without their weekly food parcels if they continue to see a drop in donations.

With benefit cuts and the cost of living continuing to rise, founder Jen Savaris says more volunteers are needed to deliver the vital parcels each week.

Either that, or the foodbank could see its shelves completely empty before December hits.

READ MORE: It’s Manchester in 2021 and a blind man has been left living alone with no bed, no fridge and just one can of soup to eat

She predicts that the charity, which was first set up at the start of lockdown to deliver food to vulnerable people in the community, has just ’10 to 14 days’ left before the money dries up.

This will mean as many as 100 families will be forced to find other ways to put food on the table.

On top of this, as many as 150 new households have already been referred to the charity in the last two weeks ahead of Christmas hardships.

Jen, 28, told the Manchester Evening News that it is the ‘toughest point the charity has faced yet.’



Jen first started feeding families in need at the start of the pandemic

Jen first started feeding families in need at the start of the pandemic

She said: “We are just seeing more and more people hitting rock bottom and needing help – but that means we need the donations to meet demand.

“Donations are dropping and Christmas is just around the corner. More people need help because everything has inflated in price.

“Once the food here has gone, which it will be by next week, we will be out of food.

“If we don’t start getting more help we will hit breaking point before Christmas and there will not be enough to give people their usual weekly package of food.



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“We help anyone on a low income who has been given a referral either through their doctors, social services or the council.

“People have been hit by furlough and Universal Credit cuts – it might not be a lot but it can mean someone can’t afford their weekly shop.”

This year will mark the first Christmas that Perry’s Pantry will spend in their new venue, in the former Hazel Dress store.

Open for more than 50 years, infamous owners Hazel Graham and husband Gordon, aged 95, gave the empty space to the charity in March.



Gordon and Hazel previously ran Hazel Dress for 50 years before giving up the space to the foodbank

Gordon and Hazel previously ran Hazel Dress for 50 years before giving up the space to the foodbank

“It is amazing to see what is going on here,” said Gordon.

“We live upstairs and we wanted the space to be used for good after the shop closed. You come across so many different people with different stories.”

Previously, Jen was running the foodbank from The Gherkin Bistro on Slade Lane whilst it was closed in the pandemic.

A group of 18 volunteers now pack and deliver seven-day food parcels to households across South Manchester each week from their new hub on School Lane.

On Monday evening, (November 8) the charity spent more than £700 on their weekly shop.

But they are now down to their ‘last few hundred pounds’ and are desperately appealing for more donations of both food and money or they will hit ‘breaking point’.

A video was shared to the Perry’s Pantry Facebook page last week showing bare shelves.



The shelves are thought to be bare by next week

The shelves are thought to be bare by next week

“The money we have left just won’t stretch,” added Jen.

“The need isn’t just us, its foodbanks everywhere. We will have no option but to tell people they will have to find somewhere else but we are all hoping it doesn’t get to that.

“People think Didsbury is affluent but the amount of people we help just shows anyone can need to rely on foodbanks and face hardships.”

Trustees of Perry’s Pantry, Fiona and Trish both called Jen a ‘hero’ for her efforts.

Fiona Armstrong-Hall, who delivers packages every Wednesday with her 17-year-old daughter, said the charity has been ‘a lifeline for so many’.

She added that for many, seeing volunteers from the charity has been the only time they have interacted with people throughout the pandemic.

“We realised so many people were desperate and they had fallen through the cracks in the pandemic.

“We want to look after as many people we can in the area but with the cold weather, increased bills and reductions in credits, people on the edge are going to tip over and won’t be able to feed their kids.”

Information and donations can be made to the Perry’s Pantry Facebook page.

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