Thousands of people in urgent need of Foodbank's emergency service
PUBLISHED: 09:00 14 December 2016
More than 3,000 people would have gone hungry this year if it was not for Weston-super-Mare Foodbank - but the charity is struggling to meet the rising demand.
A total of 3,494 people have used the town’s foodbank, based in North Street, this year, of which 1,155 are children.
In 2015 the foodbank provided food and basic supplies to 3,042 people, including 953 children – meaning there has been a 15 per cent increase.
Foodbank manager Frederique Wigmore says there is no obvious reason why demand is so high.
She said: “We had 129 people come in over the school holidays when free school meals were not available but September was extremely high this year with no reason behind it.
“There are a number of reasons why people come to us. They may be in-between jobs, be victims of domestic violence or homeless.”
Mrs Wigmore believes the rising demand could stem from a greater awareness of the support available.
The foodbank provides parcels containing a three-day supply of emergency food to people in need who are referred by professional organisations such as children’s centres and housing associations.
Mrs Wigmore said the foodbank has had a rise in the number of donations but it is still not enough to deal with the increased need.
The foodbank was able to replenish some of its stock at its Christmas food drive at Tesco supermarket, in Station Road.
The volunteers at the food drive collected 2,214kg of food, nearly 500g more than last year.
Mrs Wigmore said: “We are so grateful for people’s generosity.”
But the foodbank remains short of tinned food, long life milk and fruit juice, pasta sauce and jam.
To find out how to donate visit www.westonsupermare.foodbank.org.uk or call 01934 708906.