New food club helps Stockton families with cost of living

published on 5 Oct 2023

Stockton Bread and Butter Thing
Salvation Army volunteers pack bags

An affordable food club for people struggling with the cost of living has been launched by The Salvation Army in Stockton and charity The Bread and Butter Thing. 

The club, hosted at The Salvation Army in Palmerston Street every Tuesday, offers three bags of fruit and veg, chilled food and cupboard staples for £8.50 - helping people save around £25 on their weekly food bills. 

Stockton Salvation Army already runs a twice weekly food bank, so hosting The Bread and Butter Thing, which is funded by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and Thirteen Housing, means they can support even more people. 

Major Ian Davis, who leads Stockton Salvation Army with his wife Major Sandy, said: “We give out roughly 200 to 300 emergency food parcels each month. We have always helped people who are really on the breadline, but more recently we’ve had people who would not normally be accessing a food bank coming to us who, because of the current economic situation, find themselves struggling towards the end of the month. 

Stockton Bread and Butter Thing

“Working with The Bread and Butter Thing provides a solution to that as it helps lower costs for those struggling families and ensures children are getting nutritious meals. It means we can serve even more people and help them in other ways too. We’re really pleased to be involved in the project.” 

The items are delivered by The Bread and Butter Thing with The Salvation Army providing the volunteers who help unpack the deliveries, sort the items and serve members. 

Diane Bartle, Church Mission Secretary, has been co-ordinating the volunteers with her husband Ian. She said: “People are able to register with The Bread and Butter Thing then they receive a text 48 hours before if there are food bags for them.

“The first week was oversubscribed and that has continued as the need is so great. We’ve had to let some people know if they are not on the list one week, they are prioritised the next week. We’re able to support about 80 people a week with this project, which we know will make a huge difference to our community. 

“The food is of great quality so as well as ensuring families are getting nutritious items to make meals with it also means there is less food waste going to landfill. 

“We had about 20 volunteers from our Salvation Army church offer their time to this and we wouldn’t be able to deliver it without them so a big thank you to all who have been involved.” 

Stockton Bread and Butter Thing

Mark Game, Chief Executive Officer, The Bread and Butter Thing, said: "I'm delighted to be working in collaboration with Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council and Thirteen Housing to bring our affordable food clubs to the area - especially as we approach another winter when the costs of living will force people on low incomes to make stark choices between heating and eating.

"TBBT is about creating long-term, sustainable routes out of poverty and building strong communities. Our members tell us that over 80 percent of them have previously had to skip meals to feed their families. By using TBBT, most save at least £25 a week on their food budgets with the added benefits of better quality and a bigger variety of food. This leads to healthier lifestyles and puts money back in people's pockets."

The Bread and Butter Thing already hosts a hub at The Salvation Army’s Austin House Community Centre in Southwick, Sunderland, which has served thousands of bags to hundreds of clients since launching last December. Stockton Salvation Army is one of five hubs to launch in recent weeks. 

Clients can register for free by texting 07860 063304 with a full name, postcode and which hub they would like to collect from. Once registered they receive a text message 48 hours before the service day asking if they would like to pick up a parcel that week. 

As well as the food parcels, Stockton Salvation Army also do hot food takeaway on a Monday, run a weekly parent and toddler group and Sunday worship.


A Salvation Army volunteer wearing a red puffer jacket delivers a care package to an older woman

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