TWO teenagers are among a team setting up a new food bank at a Bradford church, saying they want to give something back to the city that became home.
Cousins Frantisek Balaz, 17, and Robert Tuleja, 18, who came to the UK in 2004, said they were keen to help the poor and give something back to the local community.
They are among a team of parishioners from St Columba's RC Church in Tong Street, Bradford, who were moved to set up a new food bank for Holme Wood, Tong and Bierley after reading an article in the Telegraph & Argus earlier this year.
Robert, a former student at Laisterdyke who lives in Thornbury, said: "We just want to help people around the community. If they don't get help from anyone else, we are here to support them." He and Frantisek, a student, will be manning a mini-food bank at the church on Saturday mornings from 10am to noon.
They will hand out food parcels to those who turn up with proof of ID and documents showing they are in need, such as entitlement to benefits. The Slovakian community has united with Bradfordian parishioners to set up and stock the food bank.
Retired BT engineer Joseph Yewdall, of Bierley, said they had been inspired to act after reading the T&A's article about how a benefits freeze will hit more children in Bradford than almost anywhere else in the country.
He said: "It is going to have a devastating effect on people around here, so we have put these food parcels together. "It is not a supermarket food bank, it is what you would call a corner shop food bank."
Mr Yewdall praised the Slovakian community - and Frantisek and Robert in particular - for supporting the scheme so enthusiastically. He said: "It's great, it gives them a sense of purpose
and a commitment. "I think they feel - I may be wrong - but I think they feel they have come to this country and they would like to put something back and help people."
Parish priest, the Reverend Solomon Gidu Bulus, said when the group had approached him about the idea of setting up a foodbank within the church, he had welcomed it.
He said: "We have had a lot of logistical problems and hopefully we will not be overwhelmed, but I am so excited about it. "I hope it is going to be appreciated by the
community." Fr Bulus, who originates from Nigeria and has been working in the UK since 2009, said he was aware of the level of need in the parish.
He said: "Our Lord Jesus Christ fed the hungry by multiplying the loaves, so you cannot to some extent preach the word of God on empty stomachs.
"We need to feed the people. It is an essential part of our Christian message."
(Taken from telegraph and Argus- 8/4/16)