Businesses and community groups are being urged to step up to the plate this summer and back an appeal by Worcester Foodbank to boost its depleted supplies.

Empty shelves are beginning to appear at the charity’s warehouse in Lowesmoor, where a surge in referrals and seasonal fall in donations has wiped out half of its stock.

Low income and problems caused by Universal Credit are forcing unprecedented numbers of people to turn to foodbank for a lifeline, with the charity having fed over 3,100 clients since January – about 800 more than at the same time last year.

Referrals have been climbing with every passing month and during May they were up 61 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Volunteers have responded by launching a summer appeal called Fill Up for Foodbank, to inspire more businesses, schools, churches, clubs and other community groups to help bolster its supplies.

Supporters are being challenged to fill up an empty bin, box or basket between 8 July and 14 July with items foodbank urgently needs, which the charity will then come and collect.

Grahame Lucas, Worcester foodbank manager, said: “People always step up to the plate and give generously when we ask for help and we need their support more than ever.”

“We predicted the delays and difficulties caused by Universal Credit would create enormous hardship for many people and sadly that’s exactly what has happened. It’s seven years since we opened our doors, but we’ve never been further away from closing them.”

Foodbank is well-stocked with beans and pasta but urgently needs items including long-life fruit juice, pasta sauce, crackers, rice pudding, tinned fruit, tinned meat and fish and small packs of washing powder.

Organisations or individuals interested in supporting the appeal can be supplied with posters and shopping lists by contacting