AS the town’s borough-wide appeal to help Ukrainians slowly comes to an end - a pair of caring Penistone residents have decided to look closer to home to offer support and have deemed a foodbank to be necessary.
Julie Rhodes and Mark Attard were influential in Penistone’s bid to support Ukrainians affected by the Russian invasion, as part of the United for Ukraine appeal, set up by Pogmoor man Henryk Matsiak.
A number of lorries, filled to the brim with donations from generous Barnsley residents, were sent to support those in need over the last few months.
But with more than 22 per cent of children in the Penistone and Stocksbridge constituency living in poverty as of 2021/22, equating to 3,351 children, the focus has now switched.
The church will still be used as the hub for the foodbank, thanks to the excellent links and support from Fr David Hopkins.
They’re now hoping to get other businesses and residents involved to try and raise as much awareness, and garner as many donations, as they possibly can.
Julie told the Chronicle: “We set up a donation hub for residents to drop off items for United for Ukraine at St John’s Church.
“That came to a natural closure.
“We’re now wanting to do something for local residents and we’ve come up with Penistone Food Buddies.
“It’s still in its infancy stages, but it’s going to be a foodbank for people in Penistone and surrounding areas.”
“We’re looking for support from any people who can help,” Julie added.
“We’re also looking at doing some fundraising.
“Co-op have offered to put a food bin in there for us.
“We want to do it in the form of a grab-a-bag.
“It’ll hopefully be something to get families through the weekend.”
Anyone who lives in the local area will be able to benefit from the foodbank - not just those who are eligible elsewhere.
“We don’t want to do this on a referral system,” she said.
“Absolutely everybody is going to be feeling the pinch.
“If you’re struggling to put food on the table then you’re more than welcome to come down.”
There’s already big plans for the future, as the group hope to widen their horizons and make the site a place for those in need to use.
“As we go on, we’re hoping to be able to offer people the chance to sit down for a hot meal once a week,” she said.
“Whether you’re homeless - God forbid - or living in a four-bedroom detached house, this is for you.
“If we keep getting clothes donations then we can also hand out those, too.”
The pair are currently looking for donations to the foodbank.
Whether it be tinned meats, tinned vegetables or cereal - as long as the items are long-life, they’ll be happy to take them.
If you want to get involved or have the ability to donate food, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The cost-of-living crisis - partly due to soaring energy bills - has also had a clear effect on residents.
More than 5,700 households in MP Miriam Cates’ constituency are living in fuel poverty, according to statistics.
Last year there was 60 excess winter deaths in Penistone and Stocksbridge, with a reported 18 per cent attributed to cold homes.
The Chronicle contact Miriam’s office for a comment but did not receive a response.