SWINDON Food Collective is in desperate need of more volunteers as it gears up for one of its busiest times of year.

The school holidays see its output rocket, with parents of children eligible for school meals needing extra help.

The collective’s seven food banks usually put out between 50 and 100 boxes a week but that number is expected to soar to 150.

SFC has 60 volunteers across its foodbanks in Swindon but needs more to help organise the donations and putting them into boxes to go to those in need.

Cher Smith is the manager of Swindon Food Collective.

She said: “We do this because people used to suffer in silence.

“Parents would go hungry to feed their children.

“People will drive away from where they live so no-one finds out they get food from a foodbank.

“It’s all about keeping their self-esteem and pride intact.”

Cher added: “Schools recognise the issues. They appreciate that when children go on holiday there will be someone to help.

“Families need to be aware that they can get help through citizen’s advice.”

Families are not the only ones in need as SFC needs more than food donations to keep running as it costs £37,000 to run each year.

The foodbanks help the elderly and anyone else who is in need, who might be choosing between eating and paying their next bill.

Last year, SFC took on Freshbrook Church Foodbank when it was was set to close last year.

Cher said: “We decided we couldn’t let that happen. Swindon Borough Council gave us a grant to keep it going. We had to re-register as a charity and we’ve now been open for a year.

“The old one closed on the Friday and we opened on the Monday, no-one was impacted by it.”

Borough councillor Russell Holland said: “The key message is that if people are in need, they should get in touch. It’s very important to get in touch.

“We are very fortunate that we have this organisation that supports people, but people should help the foodbank too. The council is doing what it can but it can’t do everything, so this is a service that is vital.”

Fundraiser Richard Gauger is giving a helping hand to SFC as he is completing the 100-mile RideLondon cycling event and donating some of the funds he raises.

So far, he has raised £330 out of £500. Half of it is going to the Night Shelter in Swindon, which is important to Richard as members of his family have experienced homelessness.

He said: “I took it on as a personal challenge I enjoy riding my bike overtime I thought ‘where I could take this challenge of mine?’ I did a 100km challenge and that really drove me to train for it and get a place for myself.”

Richard has been training by cycling to and from work every day, sometimes he will get up earlier to do longer cycles.

He said: “I thought it would be good to support a charity that is local and doesn’t have a high media follow and we are part of the foodbank charity. What people don’t realise is that charity need funds to run the staff, the office, do collections. All the statistics behind it are important because if the finance is done well then it will all run itself.”

The seven foodbanks are at The Croft St Bartholomew’s at 1 Church Street in Wootton Bassett, The Bridge at 9 Sheep Street in Highworth, St Aldhelm’s on Edgware Road, St Peter’s Churchon Penhill Drive, Freshbrook Church on Worsley Road, St John’s Park North at 103 Whitbourne Avenue, St Mary’s Rodbourne Cheney at Cheney Manor Road.

Anyone who would like to help should contact SFC through its website.