AN UNPRECEDENTED surge in demand for emergency food has forced the manager of Worcester Foodbank to make a desperate plea to city residents for donations.
The Lowesmoor-based charity fears it could completely run out of food after struggling to cope with a 35 per cent rise in referrals during the first nine months of the year, leaving its dwindling stock at crisis point.
Stock is now down to below six and a half tonnes but with demand running at an incredible three tonnes a month staff have less than one month’s worth of about 40 per cent of items they accept.
In some cases, the charity is running on empty with some vital goods and relying on what comes in each day for use in food parcels.
Manager Grahame Lucas said: “This is the first real crisis we’ve faced in terms of being able to keep up with demand and ensure the many desperate families and individuals who rely on us don’t go hungry.”
“There has been no let-up in people’s generosity with donating food, but unfortunately we are dealing with an unprecedented rise in referrals”
Low incomes, mounting debts, delays in receiving benefits and homelessness have all fuelled the increase in referrals which has seen the charity hand out more than 3,700 food parcels since the turn of the year – 960 more than this time last year.
The charity is now urging people to consider donating items from its emergency shopping list.
Donations can be left at the charity’s supermarket collection points in Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s Local in Barbourne.
Alternatively items can dropped off at foodbank in Lowesmoor Wharf on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11am to 2pm.
Items the Food Bank is running out of:
Fruit juice (long life), milk (long life), sugar, tinned soup, tinned fruit, rice pudding, tinned custard, tinned potatoes, mashed potato, sponge pudding, treats and biscuits, jam, tinned tomatoes, coffee, packets of cooked rice.
Items also needed urgently:
Toilet rolls, washing powder, soap, shower gel, shampoo.