Donating to families in crisis

Bangor’s food bank team were delighted to receive a generous £10,000 donation to help families living in food poverty this week. 

Based in Bloomfield Shopping Centre, the owners of the popular take-away bakery Auntie Anne’s handed over their premises to the charity during the current Coronavirus crisis. 

Thanks to a team of volunteers, all funds raised from the coffee sales will now go towards helping local families put food on their tables during these challenging times. 

Just last week the Spectator reported that demand for aid from Bangor’s food bank had soared by well over 500% as low income families felt the effects of the Covid crisis.

The food bank has distributed almost 11,000 meals to people in need from Helen’s Bay to Portaferry since the lockdown began and over 65% of those have gone to low-income families. 

Ken Scott, manager of Bangor NI Food Bank, welcomed the ‘fantastic’ donation that would help families in crisis across the borough. 

As a family run business, Stephen and Lisa Downey from Auntie Anne’s were keen to give something back to the local community during the pandemic.

Mr Downey said: “Whenever lockdown was announced we had finished fitting out our two stores in Bangor and Belfast with shielding and barriers and we were not doing anything with it. 

“As a local family business we wanted to give something back to the community. There had been a lot of momentum around the NHS and Captain Tom Moore and we thought ‘what could be do that would be right in our own neighbourhood?’

“I spoke to the food bank because I know of their tremendous work. A lot of their work goes unnoticed and unseen with people living in our streets in dire need of help.”

Mr Downey said: “They are called Bangor food bank and community support and I know they provide a lot of additional support services. If you need a bed, a mattress or clothes, they just go above and beyond and we thought we really need to step up and try and help them.”

The local business was delighted by the support shown by the local community. “We never expected to get to this level and the volunteers were amazing; a lot of them work in the church café at Bangor Elim so it wasn’t an alien environment to them. 

“People were overjoyed that we were selling coffee right from the outset and that their money was going directly to a local charity to help local people.”

Mr Downey praised local people’s generosity.“People were coming in and paying forward 10 or 20 cups of coffee. So we were able to treat any NHS and essential workers to a free coffee. 

“It has been really lovely and warming to see the local community in action and it has been a real joy to watch people’s expressions as they realise what is going on, all by buying a simple cup of coffee.”