Redditch’s first official food bank and distribution network has seen referrals steadily increase since it was officially launched in June of last year, with more families than ever seeking help. The Food Bank coordinates collections of goods from donors and provides a central point for storage and picking activities, and for the administration of the programme. The Food Bank is supported by local charity The Oakland Foundation and provides access to an emergency supply of goods for those in need in Redditch. It works closely with referral agencies to support people to try and resolve a range of issues across the borough. Oakland Foundation Trustee, Hayley Smith, commented: “The Oakland Foundation is aimed at providing long-term support for real issues of hardship that exist in Redditch and Bromsgrove – by dealing with child poverty through health, nutrition, sport and education initiatives. Charity starts at home and we are determined that we will continue to make a real difference locally.” Since September 2013, the food bank has so far received 630 requests for assistance, feeding 732 adults and 292 Children. As well as food the Redditch Food Bank, unlike many other food banks across the UK, also supply people with toiletries, clothes, bedding and even sleeping bags supplied by The Oasis Charity Shops. Food Bank trustees are drawn from a broad steering group of local people, working with national food bank charity the Trussell Trust and operating under the local charity Acts of Kindness with support from the Oakland Foundation and the Redditch Partnership. The food bank uses Oakland International’s distribution hub in Beoley, Redditch to sort, store and distribute food. Agencies are then able to refer people identified as being in food crisis to the food bank, to help tide them over temporarily.