Belfast food-bank sees huge increase in demand for emergency packages

A food bank, Team Haven, located on the lower Shankill Road, Belfast, have seen an increase in demand for help, since the cost-of-living crisis has begun. 

The organisation, set up by Jackie Lowry, Anne Lowry, and Julie Kelly, offer support by providing emergency food packages, along with their Outreach programme occurring six nights a week in Belfast City Centre. 

Speaking about the demand, Anne said that “it has increased massively and now it’s not just families that need it but statutory bodies too. At the moment we are also accepting toy donations as we want to ensure that children have toys to play with”. Not only has the demand for their emergency packages increased but so has the amount of people coming to their Outreach tables at night. Rising from “15 meals a night to the current 60-70 meals in one evening”.

Anne explained that they have struggled since the living crisis began as they aren’t a registered organisation. “Because of that we don’t get funded. The Outreach Programme that we do in the city centre adds to our bills because the equipment itself needs bought as they don’t last long”.

Team Haven were awarded “5 stars for serving food on the street” for their Outreach Programme and so decided to expand and open the food-banks after they asked for donations. Speaking about this decision, Jackie said, “When we asked for donations we got a lot, but most of the things couldn’t be used on the street as it was things that made up food parcels, so we looked for a way to put those donations to use”.  

Speaking about what they do, Julie said that they, along with their 45 volunteers try to offer “company and support” to those using their services.  Jackie said that they get “referrals from social services and different community groups and walk-ins” along with “families who can’t afford food”. 

Team Haven is located on the lower Shankill Road and is constantly accepting donations of food and toys to ensure they have enough to help anybody that needs it