MORE than 400 households in Herefordshire have been receiving food from The Salvation Army, putting the Hereford Corps in the top ten busiest corps for food support nationwide during the coronavirus pandemic.

A snapshot food distribution survey of UK Salvation Army corps during one week revealed a 63 percent surge in households given food support by corps which recorded this work in both February and April for the survey, while ten of the busiest corps recorded a shocking 174 percent increase in households being provided with food support.

To meet the need, The Salvation Army has opened large scale food distribution hubs across the country to bulk buy essential food for an initial supply of around 22,000 basic food parcels.

With each parcel costing at least £16 each, the church and charity has launched an emergency fundraising appeal to ensure it can keep providing large volumes of food parcels to families on the edge across the UK.

Salvation Army officers embedded in communities are reporting a bleak picture of need, such as in Govan, Glasgow, where Salvation Army officers helped a 94-year-old woman who hadn’t eaten for five days. The officers met her after heading in their van to a housing estate to serve hot meals. About 60 people are relying on them every day to get a decent dinner.

The Salvation Army’s leader in the UK and Ireland, Commissioner Anthony Cotterill said: “It’s years since we have seen poverty to be such a real and present danger for so many people.

“We really welcome the initial action the government has taken to support income through the furlough scheme, but we are worried that the communities we work in will be reeling from the economic fall out for many years.

“We are approaching a poverty tipping point. Our immediate focus is scaling up our provision to get food and support to people who need it now, from families unable to pay utility bills to rough sleepers struggling to feed themselves.

“We are also looking at the long-term picture. Our Employment Plus advisors will help people find work; we will continue to support stretched families juggling minimum wage jobs with childcare, and our Debt Advisors will help people make ends meet’

“We are doing everything we can to stop thousands of people sliding into poverty.”

To support The Salvation Army’s coronavirus response visit , call 0207 367 4800, or send a cheque addressed to The Salvation Army and post it to: The Salvation Army, 101 Newington Causeway, London, SE1 6BN.