A BLACK Country Food Bank which distributes food to vulnerable residents is set to open a new distribution centre in Dudley.

The Christian organisation, which was started by Wendy Fryatt in 2006, is looking to raise £7,500 to open the muchneeded facility.

The Food Bank already has distribution points in Stourbridge, Halesowen, Netherton and Brierley Hill and is hoping to open the new centre in Dudley before Easter, leaving volunteers with just weeks to find the cash.

The new Dudley base is set to run from The Saltmine Theatre Company building on The Broadway, opposite the Avery Care Home, which is currently being built opposite.

The theatre company has agreed to give the Food Bank its back room and kitchen but both need totally refurbishing before they can open to the public.

The aim of the Food Bank is to give three days of nutrionally balanced food to people experiencing emotional or financial crisis.

The food boxes contain three days of non-perishable food, as well as menu planners to help people make healthy meals.

And the volunteers also provide homeless packs to those especially in need and also provide a hot drink, a meal and an opportunity to talk in a comfortable setting.

Speaking about the latest venture, Wendy said: “We desperately need to raise the money.

“The Saltmine have been kind enough to allow us the room but they are a charity themselves and can’t afford to refurbish it, so we need to raise at least £7,500 to paint and decorate it, put down a new floor, new kitchen, lighting, tables, chairs and sofa.”

The Dudley base will allow the volunteers to serve residents living on the Priory, Wren’s Nest, central Dudley and Kates Hill.

Wendy said: “We are hoping to help up to 75 people a week, and it is not just single people, there are many families who need help.

“We need to get the money and get it open as soon as possible.

This is urgent. We find it very difficult to raise funds as we are a faith-based charity, so we rely heavily on personal donations, not just cash but also non-perishable food.”

It is hoped the centre will be manned by volunteers from Dudley churches and members of the Living Hope Church have already signed up.

Pastor Jeremy Parkes said: “We wanted to be involved with the Food Bank in a greater way, so we immediately agreed to help the Dudley project. There is a big need for a facility in the town centre and the need has grown incredibly over the last 12 months.”

To make a donation, call Wendy on 0121 448 8184 or email blackcountryfoodbank@yahoo.co.uk for details about how to help.