The Impartial Reporter today unveils the launch of its Foodbank Appeal (see facing page), urging the community to unite against poverty in Fermanagh and lend a helping hand.

This region is currently grappling with the pressing need for food supplies, with individuals across the board feeling the strain.

Delving deep into this issue over the past couple of months has uncovered numerous examples of hardship, and so, we are thrilled to announce that our forthcoming appeal will kick off later this month.

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Encirc, we will be distributing a complimentary paper bag in the November 16 edition, encouraging you to fill it up and contribute to your local foodbank.

Building on this momentum, a week later, on November 23, a community gathering will be held at South West College in Enniskillen.

The event aims to delve deeper into the matter, featuring a diverse panel of speakers from the Trussell Trust, the Northern Ireland Anti-Poverty Network, Enniskillen Foodbank, Arc Healthy Living Centre, Action for Children and other relevant organisations, and our columnist, Bernadette McAliskey.

Rodney Edwards, Editor of The Impartial Reporter, said: “We can no longer turn a blind eye to the struggles faced by our friends, families, and neighbours.

“Our initiative is a modest effort to support those in need, and we are committed to aiding the local foodbanks in every way we can.

“Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to all our partners and sponsors, especially Encirc, for their invaluable support in helping us produce these complimentary bags.”

Sustainability Director at Encirc, Fiacre O’Donnell, said: “I think everyone will agree the recent reports in this newspaper regarding the levels of poverty in the county have been extremely concerning and worrying.

“So, to be able to support this appeal was an easy decision. We would encourage all readers to make the effort to fill one of the bags and take it to your nearest foodbank.

‘Rise to the challenge’

“The Impartial Reporter Foodbank Appeal has the potential to make a real difference in the fight against poverty in this area, and I have no doubt this community will rise to the challenge of helping those currently suffering tough times.

“We would also like to commend all those people working and volunteering in foodbanks – they all deserve huge credit and support for their efforts.”

Dr. Ciara Fitzpatrick, a board member of the Anti-Poverty Network, said: “Poverty is on the rise in Fermanagh, evidenced by the rise in the number of food parcels that are distributed every week.

“Unfortunately, due to the ongoing lack of government support, foodbanks are forced to rely on the community to support those who are facing hunger this winter.

“Standing up to Poverty in Fermanagh is to give the community an opportunity to use their collective voice to call on our leaders to deliver for everyone in Fermanagh, ensuring that no one is forced to go cold and hungry, and to ensure that our children are protected from the misery of poverty.

“At the same time, it will also provide a chance for the community to come together and show solidarity with those in the community who need support by filling up the bags with essentials and Christmas foods to ensure that everyone has the dignity of having something in their cupboards this festive season.”

‘Embrace the initiative’

John Shades, manager of Foodbank Enniskillen, said: “Myself and the volunteers at Enniskillen Foodbank wholeheartedly embrace the initiative by The Impartial Reporter to supply a bag with each copy of the paper to collect groceries in support of those in need within our communities.

“In addition, we applaud the forthcoming event at South West College on November 23 which seeks to further highlight the plight of those experiencing food poverty in Fermanagh. Such insight is commendable.”

Further details will be announced next week.