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Cost of living: Churches make hygiene boxes to combat poverty

Foodbanks have been under considerable pressure throughout 2022.

As the cost of living soared and inflation reached its highest point for 40 years, more people turned to them for help than ever before.

But it wasn’t just food that was in demand this Christmas – people also regularly requested hygiene products.

One foodbank in Bangor said its users are experiencing an increase in hygiene poverty.

Half an hour after opening the doors, there is usually a constant long line of people behind Bangor Cathedral asking for parcels.

One volunteer says it is like this until closing time at 16:00 GMT.

This army of volunteers are now filling bags with hygiene products as well as food.

With the price of food climbing over recent months, this food bank said it has seen a rise in demand of 100%.

“We are in one sense proud to operate something like this, because the need is so great, but on the other hand we’re sad that many people are relying on us,” said the Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd Andrew John.

The Archbishops said he was increasingly seeing people working and relying on foodbank

“This service is becoming indispensable, what you see here, how busy it is – it’s just an average day.”

The Church in Wales runs a campaign called Food and Fuel which gives churches across Wales a challenge to create boxes full of shampoo, soap and sanitary products, to target hygiene poverty.

“One of the most invisible aspects of poverty is hygiene poverty.

“We want to make sure people don’t suffer the consequences of feeling shame, so we’re providing soaps, sanitary towels, gels, as well as food so people don’t suffer that type of indignity,” he added.

The centre in Bangor is a sea of plastic bags, and volunteers like Lesley Evans, work hard to get everything ready for people who need it.

“It’s Christmas, and people are feeling the pinch this year so we’re really busy.”

Ms Evans said she had a good career, and it was time to give back

Ms Evans said there is a need to be discreet when greeting people when it came to hygiene poverty.

“If you need it, you need it, and many people are shy to say what they need, but we try to make it as easy and casual as we possibly can, so they’re happy to talk to us.

“We’ve had a woman coming here crying because she had to come to the foodbank to feed her children on Christmas Day.

“We’ve done out best to give her a bit extra because we see her need.”

Source : BBC