Extra demand puts strain on foodbank
ANXIETY is the overriding emotion of people who have been flooding to Swindon Foodbank for help in the lead up to Christmas,say staff.
There has been a 30 per cent increase in the numbers coming forward to seek food parcels from the charity during the past two weeks.
David Hartridge, the project manager at Swindon Foodbank, is concerned that the demand will not let up through 2014.
He said: “We have seen a huge increase in people coming in week on week. “Lots of people are worried about their benefit payments because they don’t know when they are going to receive their money
“Everyone who has come in has been very anxious and a bit embarrassed about seeking help because it’s a bit of an indictment.”
Along with the increase in need, people around Swindon have continued to support the Foodbank with generous donations. Yesterday, Swindon College’s hospitality department collected £200 from raffles to donate to the charity.
Hospitality lecturer Faith Rostron said: “It was great, it went really well. We held a raffle over our Christmas lunch and donated the money to Swindon Foodbank and Christmas Cares.
“We chose these charities because sometimes some of our students use the Foodbank and sometimes they fall into hard times and end up sofa surfing or homeless.
“We also like to keep it local because a lot of our customers are local and we like to support our local communities.”
There has also been a collection this week by the Swindon branch of the Labour party. Mark Dempsey, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Swindon North, said: “More people are turning to foodbanks because of the increase in the cost of living.
“There has been a growth in the number of foodbanks throughout the UK to respond to the need.”
But a lot of people are not aware that they are able to use the Foodbank.
David said: “It’s amazing that in the 21st century we still have a foodbank but between 120 and 150 people are coming in each week and it’s all sorts of people, families, single men, single women and couples all seeking help.
“We expect to see even more coming in during the next week and into the New Year.”
So many people have been coming to the foodbank d that for the first time yesterday David had to return to the warehouse to collect more food.
He blames the changes in benefits for the dramatic increase in people needing help.
Where to drop off your donations
- The Distribution Centre in St Aldhelm’s Centre from 2.30pm to 4.30pm on Thursdays and Fridays.
- Swindon Restore, St Johns Church Hall in Whitbourne Avenue, everyday from 10am to 4pm.
- Hairworks, in Freshbrook Village Centre.
- Freshbrook Evangelical Church in Worsley Road on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9am to 12pm.
- Natwest Bank in Commercial Road.
- Two’s Company in High Street, Highworth.
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