Writer Susan Hill backs call to fill emergency food banks

published on 20 Sep 2019

Susan Hill

The Woman in Black author is backing The Salvation Army’s plea for more donations to its network of food banks. 

Susan Hill was moved to act when she heard that the church and charity's food bank in Preston, Lancashire was dangerously low on food. Not only did she send supermarket vouchers, she has agreed to back The Salvation Army’s call to ensure other food banks who are also struggling receive donations.

Susan Hill said:

“I read about the fact that The Salvation Army’s food bank in Preston was asking for urgent donations as they were worried they would have to turn people away.

“I have known about the many good works of The Salvation Army since my childhood, when we put money in the collecting tins for the bands playing in the town at Christmas. I was happy to make a donation to Preston Salvation Army but then I learnt that other food banks run by The Salvation Army are also in need and so I wanted to encourage more people to donate."

She added:

“Please give what you can. Food banks need tinned and dried foods and some even give out nappies and toilet paper to people who are struggling to make ends meet.”

The Salvation Army has a network of more than 700 churches and social centres across the UK and Ireland.  Most have a limited stock of emergency food and supplies for people in grave need but others, like Preston Salvation Army, have more formal food bank provision.

While the Preston food bank has replenished  stocks for the next few months thanks to Susan and many others  who read about their plight in The Guardian, there are further Salvation Army food banks across the UK that also need the public’s help.

Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant of The Salvation Army said:

“We are so grateful for the generosity of people like Susan who support us throughout the year.

“The summer months can be especially hard for families who usually benefit from free school lunches and do not have the income to cover additional meals for six weeks or need to make difficult choices between food and paying for new school uniforms and shoes for the start of the new term."

He continued:

“Preston Salvation Army experienced an increase in demand for emergency food and supplies this summer and found its stock cupboards were left rather bare. I am concerned that other food banks are also struggling. This is especially worrying as we are now preparing for winter and Christmas, our busiest time of year.”

Each expression of The Salvation Army has a bespoke social welfare and community programme that seeks to meet local need and work alongside other services to offer holistic care for families and individuals. Debt advice and employment support are two examples of Salvation Army services that typically complement food provision.  

Lieut-Colonel Dean Pallant added:

“I would encourage anyone looking to help their local Salvation Army to get in touch before making donations so you can donate an item that would make the biggest difference to someone in your area in desperate need.”

Contact details for local Salvation Army churches and centres can be found via The Salvation Army's online map.

A food parcel usually contains non-perishable food with a long shelf life.

Food donation ideas:

  • Tins of fruit and vegetables
  • Bags of rice and dried pasta
  • Cartons of juice and UHT milk
  • Tea and instant coffee
  • Sugar
  • Biscuits

Other donations that may be useful to families in need:

  • Shampoo and shower gel
  • Tooth brushes and paste
  • Deodorant
  • Toilet paper
  • Sanitary products
  • Nappies
  • Washing powder
  • Light bulbs

Find out more about The Salvation Army's support for people in need of emergency assistance.