St John Ambulance provide centre for emergency food bank in Oxford

7 November 2006

St John Ambulance in Bicester is playing host to an emergency food bank, which is being launched to help families when they hit hard times.

The centre is due to open on Friday, December 15 and is scheduled to open twice a week from 1.00 to 3.00pm on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The food bank will provide free food for families who are in need in the Oxfordshire town. It is hoped that free food will be available to struggling families for up to three days before long-term help can be provided.

Sarah Orgill, Divisional Superintendent at Bicester, comments: ‘We were more than happy to provide a home for the project and in doing so helping to support the local community. There is a great deal of poverty in the town and it is important that we help those people in need.’

Project Manager Janet Ray, a member of Bicester's Emmanuel Church, launched the food bank after a visit to New Zealand earlier this year, where she saw a similar initiative in action.

She commented: ‘It's for when somebody loses their job or is sick and can't work. We are not there to feed the permanently hungry because we just could not do that. Everyone thinks Bicester is a very affluent society, but in every town there is need and we have quite a high percentage of deprivation in Bicester.’

Mrs Ray is appealing for volunteers to help collect, pack and distribute the food. For more information call on 01869 346915 or email bicesterfoodbank@yahoo.co.uk