THE DEMAND for emergency help from Evesham’s foodbank has more than doubled in the past year, new figures have revealed.
A total of 823 food parcels have been handed out by kind-hearted volunteers at the Vale of Evesham Christian Centre in Bewdley Street since last April.
The venue runs the town’s foodbank and the new figures are a 100 per cent increase on the previous three years where a total of around 400 food parcels were given out each year.
Volunteers have also noted an increase in the number of people using the centre’s free diner on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Diane Bennett, community worker, told the Observer the centre was coping with the increased demand.
“It doubled overnight since last April, it was not an gradual increase.” she said.
“I think the reason for the increase is two-fold, the Government’s benefits changes have had a significant increase on people.”
“But equally, an increase in the costs of things such as fuel and food have had an affect with people’s pay not going up and in
some cases being cut.
“We have seen both cases of serious need but also extreme generosity from people in the community who have made donations.” she added
Further afield demand for food banks has dramatically increased in recent years.
During the last 12 months the branches in the West Midlands handed out food to 93,461 people – more than double the amount of the previous year.
Nationally the number of people requiring help from food banks is close to one million – nearly 15 times more than the 61,468 people who benefited in 2010 to 2011.
Chris Mould, chairman of the Trussell Trust which is the parent organisation of more than 400 food banks in the UK, added: “It is shocking that we’re seeing rising numbers of people who need to turn to food banks in 21st century Britain.
“But perhaps most worrying of all is that Trussell Trust food bank figures are just the tip of the iceberg of UK food poverty, it doesn’t include those helped by other emergency food providers, those living in towns where there is no food bank, people
who are too ashamed to seek help or the large number of people who are only just coping by eating less and buying cheap
“That’s why urgent action needs to be taken to stop UK hunger.”
Anyone who can help by volunteering or with donations can call Diane on 07721 559387.