A new organisation has been set up to help co-ordinate food banks across Blackpool.
The new scheme will see faith groups who provide food banks make referrals of people using them to the new body, known as the Blackpool Food Partnership.
People will then be assessed and, if eligible, be given food parcels. Speaking at the organisation’s launch, Blackpool Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “I’ve not met anyone who enjoys living on benefits or receiving handouts or accessing charity.
“I have, though, met a great deal of people that are striving towards a day when they will not have to do that.
“This isn’t about food exclusively, it’s about love and hospitality.”
Last week, Paul Maynard MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, told a food poverty summit in Manchester that food banks should not be part of the welfare state. Mr Maynard says the Government should instead focus on other ways to get people out of food poverty - such as making supermarkets stock misshapen fruit and vegetables at cheaper prices.
He said: “The point I was making was there is a division of opinion about the extent to which the Government should be running food banks.
“There are whole issues we can work on to make sure people aren’t in food poverty, but depending on short-term relief doesn’t tackle the long term problem.”
The Right Reverend Geoff Pearson, the Bishop of Blackburn, who also spoke out to show his support, added: “It’s great to see such a good turnout which shows the commitment of the community to the food partnership.
“At times, poverty can really crush the spirit. If we, through the food partnership, can prevent that we will be doing something truly remarkable.”
Members of the public can donate food at locations throughout the town. Call Nikki Hart on 07400 960507.