Worcester Foodbank stocks up to help in a Christmas crisis

Worcester News: DONATIONS: Worcester Foodbank manager Colin Whitehead, front, with deputy manager Gemma Dunn, left, and volunteer Wendy Cartlidge. Picture: Jonathan Barry. (4913466801) Buy this photo » DONATIONS: Worcester Foodbank manager Colin Whitehead, front, with deputy manager Gemma Dunn, left, and volunteer Wendy Cartlidge. Picture: Jonathan Barry. (4913466801)

WORCESTER’S foodbank is preparing for a significant rise in the number of people facing crisis who will be using the service in the run-up to Christmas.

Family breakdowns, debt, benefit cuts, illness and homelessness will all contribute to a peak in food parcels being handed out to those in desperate need during the festive period.

Fortunately, volunteers have been “staggered” by the generosity of shoppers at Worcester’s Tesco supermarkets, in St Peter’s and Warndon Villages, who gave more than five tonnes of food during a three-day collection.

The donated tins of vegetables, meat, sponge puddings and cereals will be put to good use because the foodbank, based in Carden Close, is already experiencing about a 50 per cent increase in demand from those in need.

Colin Whitehead, foodbank manager, said: “People have been so generous, it is unbelievable how much has been donated.

“We are standing in the warehouse absolutely staggered by the amount of food people have given.

“We are already seeing an increase in people coming to the foodbank. On Friday we saw quite a dramatic increase with 50 people needing food whereas we usually see between 20 and 30 a day depending on the time of year.”

The foodbank, which is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, expects to see between 160 to 170 people a week during December.

“People would have received their fuel bills at the end of November and are having to choose whether they eat or heat because of the rise in heating bills and food prices going up.

“Families at Christmas particularly struggle and we will see a significant increase this Christmas I believe.”

As well as the supermarket collections, Mr Whitehead said many city churches had chosen to give harvest festival donations to the foodbank.

Staff at internet services provider names.co.uk, based in Acton House, Perdiswell Park, Worcester, had also been collecting food at its offices during a charity fun week.

They donated 145kg of food to the charity which gives people facing crisis three vouchers which entitles them to three days of food.

People who are deemed to be in crisis are given the vouchers by the foodbank’s partner agencies.

Mr Whitehead said: “We think the Tesco collection will last us until February which is great news and the supermarket will also give us an extra 30 per cent in money which we hope will pay for our rent for the next five months.

“We want to get across how grateful we are for all the donations. People will be getting their bills and worrying about whether they can pay them and this will help them get through the emergencies and stops people getting into debt.

“It really helps to get people through. It is a lifesaving service.”

For more information on Worcester Foodbank, visit worcester.foodbank.org.uk.

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