Generous residents donated more than 14 tonnes of food to help those living in poverty in just one month – as foodbanks faced their busiest Christmas yet.
Shock figures reveal that more people than ever fell into poverty last December, with West Cheshire Foodbank seeing a 17% increase in referrals for emergency food compared to 2013.
But despite the charity experiencing its busiest Christmas ever, their stockrooms are far from empty after kind-hearted residents donated 14,195kg of food – over 14 tonnes in December alone.
Growth of food poverty in West Cheshire over last two years - food bank rise revealed.
“This December alone, local people generously donated 14,195kgs of food to us, keeping our committed team of warehouse volunteers very busy indeed,” said Alec Spencer, Development Officer at West Cheshire Foodbank.
“The overwhelming generosity of our supporters is humbling and, thanks to them, we have not only met existing demand, but we also have strong reserves of stock going forwards into the new year.
“Thanks to all the individuals, churches, charities, businesses and schools who continue to faithfully support us - because of you we are able to support thousands of people through a difficult period in their lives.”
Last year, West Cheshire Foodbank provided emergency food to more than 5,000 people living in poverty in Chester, Neston and Ellesmere Port – a shocking 1,617 of these were children.
Who used foodbanks in Chester and Ellesmere Port in 2014?
But with 458, many of whom are families, needing emergency food from the Trussel Trust foodbank in December alone, usage is expected to keep increasing over the coming months.
Speaking during a recent interview with the Chester Chronicle Mr Spencer said the foodbank was currently helping around 450 every month as they forced the choice between eating and heating their homes.
“People face multiple challenges including ill-health, relationship breakdown, mental health problems or substantial caring responsibilities and are usually struggling because benefits have been delayed, stopped or reduced,” he said.
“Our social safety net is failing to catch thousands of people in Chester, Ellesmere Port and Neston – who are forced to rely on emergency food to survive.”