A scheme giving food to homeless and deprived people, which nearly folded last year due to lack of donations, now has so much food it is appealing for volunteers to help distribute it.

The Bradford Metropolitan Food Bank nearly closed last summer - six months after it was launched - after donations of food supplies dried up.

"Our shelves our empty, we're crying out for more donations," founder Lashman Singh told the Telegraph & Argus at the time.

But following an appeal in the T&A, and a new scheme involving hospital staff donating food, the project now has more food than it can distribute.

"We also had donations from churches and schools which really boosted our supplies, and we had a £1,500 donation from Tesco," said Mr Singh, who set up the food bank last year after 18 months of planning the project.

Earlier this year volunteers collected donations from shoppers at Tesco stores around the district.

And monthly collection points were set up at St Luke's Hospital and Bradford Royal Infirmary for staff to drop off donations of tinned, dried and packet food.

"It's a straightforward way for people to make donations," said Mr Singh. "It's a way we can all be heroes and do our bit for those less well off. Thanks to our successful appeals we now have plenty of food to distribute and we need to ensure our stocks are sent out regularly to make way for new food coming in.

"We need representatives from charities, community groups, religious organisations, school breakfast clubs, lunch clubs, GPs' practices, mental health services, asylum seeker services and any other groups working with people in need of food to come forward."

The food bank was set up to supply food to families and individuals who are homeless or living in sub-standard accommodation and struggling financially. Donations are collected and stored by volunteers at the former St Mary's nursery in Barkerend, then distributed district-wide by community organisations.

Mr Singh founded the Bradford Curry Project, which provides meals for the homeless, 14 years ago but said the food bank operated differently.

"Unlike the Curry Project, this isn't a drop-in. There are no direct handovers of food," he said. "Donations must be applied for in writing then sent out via the distributors.

"There's a great demand for this service. We're getting requests from refugees and single parent families who desperately need donations, particularly of baby food.

"We need to hear from people working with those in need. We are willing to help organisations whose budgets could be saved by the free provision of food. We're now in a position where we can supply large quantities of food to places like school breakfast clubs or lunch clubs."

For more information ring (01274) 521028.

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