Bridgend volunteers and community groups support donation drives aimed to feed neighbours in need. Food banks stockpile these donated items in order to distribute them to local residents that have experienced a recent hardship.
Volunteers talk about specific examples that they have witnessed. Most people have experienced problems with benefit delays. Some saw benefit payments drop, which has occurred frequently due to the unpopular bedroom tax. A few pounds a week may not sound like a major change, but a drop in payments can be a breaking point for someone who was already barely scraping by.
The most active pantry in all of Wales is Bridgend Foodbank. This partner of the national Trussell Trust charity provides an organised solution for feeding the county’s residents when they are running out of other options.
This is a massive operation. It is run by teams of dedicated volunteers which give unselfishly of their time to help their neighbours. The sheer size of the service is represented in part by the number of distribution centres that have been added where citizens most in need are located. These are the locations that residents may pick up food parcels to help feed themselves and their families.
- Aberkenfig Bible Church hosts Aberkenfig Centre at The Storehouse. This location is on Pandy Road. Enquiries may be directed to the central telephone in Bridgend at 01656 858713.
- Bridgend Centre on Nolton Street is the primary location. Calls may be placed to 01656 858713 for information about this centre and other sites.
- Cornelly Community Church is located on Greenfield Terrace in Cornelly. Telephone is 07535 780213.
- Griffin Park Community Centre serves the Porthcawl community. Enquiries may be directed to 07874 397599.
- His Place is based on Oxford Street in Pontycymer. Pickup arrangements may be made by calling 07742876814.
- Noddfa Community Centre in Caerau is open to pickups usually once per week. Call 07816 534413 for more information.
- Peniel Evangelical Church on Station Street serves Maesteg citizens with food aid. Enquiries may be made at 07816 534413.
- St David’s Church in Bettws is the scene of Bettws Centre. Residents may call 07866 339482 to confirm hours of operation.
As is customary with Trussell Trust partners, Bridgend Foodbank requires that clients first obtain a voucher from one of dozens of referral organisations. Practically any social services agency can provide the necessary referral, as can many churches and charities in the area. The Bridgend County Borough Citizens Advice Bureau on Dunraven Place is one of the primary referral sources, since many clients are trying to cut expenses while eliminating debt. Food vouchers can reduce the food budget for a household trying to recover from financial hardship.
Jobcentre Plus is another common source of vouchers. Vouchers are generally easiest to obtain through organisations that feature self-help programmes.
Some food distribution efforts have been chastised by politicians who think that it creates a cycle of dependency in Bridgend. However the referral requirement ensures that no resident can arrive to request repeated donations unless they are actively engaged in self-sufficiency discussions or advice surgeries.
Any enquiries may be directed to the central headquarters in Bridgend at 01656 858713. Volunteers can answer questions about referral sources, local pickups and times of operation at each distribution centre.