FOODBANK bosses in the city have unwrapped their Christmas shopping list to help feed the growing number of people struggling to survive on a low income.
The charity is hoping to ride a tide of festive goodwill and boost its stocks in the run-up to Christmas as mounting pressure from low incomes and sweeping changes to benefit payments threatens to push more people into crisis.
Alcohol-free Christmas puddings and mince pies, tinned turkey and cranberry sauce are just some of the festive treats people are being asked to donate, alongside other urgently needed items including long-life fruit juice and milk, tinned rice and washing powder.
The plea for help comes just weeks after foodbank warned it could face a 50 per cent increase in referrals over the coming year due to the full roll out of Universal Credit. The charity is also concerned by a recent rise in the number of people being forced to rely on emergency food due to a low income. This was the biggest single cause of referrals to foodbank during the first six months of 2018/19.
A bumper harvest has helped foodbank keep up with demand but donations to its warehouse are still around two tonnes down on the same period last year.
Grahame Lucas, foodbank manager, said: “The difficulties caused by Universal Credit and low incomes threatens to rob many people of the joy of Christmas unless we do everything we can to support them.”
“There’s no better time of year for us to count our blessings and share some of them with families and individuals whose only Christmas wish is to have food and not go hungry.”
Some schools, businesses and individuals have already pledged their support by starting a reverse Advent Calendar to collect items for foodbank. Instead of tucking into a chocolate treat, people of all ages can mark the festive countdown by putting aside an item for foodbank in a box every day which can handed over in the run-up to Christmas.
Foodbank is also looking for Secret Santas to support its Christmas Toy Appeal. Volunteers need donations of unwrapped new toys for boys and girls that the charity can use to bless some of the hundreds of children it will also help to feed.
Visit www.worcester.foodbank.org.uk for more.