The new Lutterworth area food bank has been overwhelmed by the generosity of local people during its first four months.
The Lutterworth and Villages Food Bank has been able to help more than 160 people since its January 14 launch, said the food bank’s volunteer manager Stephanie Heath.
She said: “It’s exactly what we’re here for. And it’s all thanks to the generosity of the local community, both in terms of people who have come forward to volunteer and people who have given food or money.”
She said the figures proved that a food bank was needed in Lutterworth.
Food bank project manager Lynn Martin said: “The most common question we were asked is ‘Is there a need here?’.
“Lutterworth is seen as an affluent area, yet the figures speak for themselves.
“The reality is that life is very difficult for people on low incomes at the moment, and increasing numbers are struggling to make ends meet and are hitting a crisis when they cannot afford food.”
Lutterworth people and businesses have now donated more than 7,500 kilos of food, and there have been 50 volunteer helpers.
Lynn said: “Local schools, businesses and church groups have provided vital support to the food bank, enabling us to give three days’ nutritionally balanced food and support to people in crisis.”
“People who receive the food have been incredibly grateful” added Stephanie. “Some have even come back and donated food themselves, when their own crisis is over.”
The Lutterworth and Villages Food Bank is one of 426 all over Britain run by the Trussell Trust, a Christian charity.
The trust says they have had 900,000 food bank visits nationwide in 2013-14, compared to around 350,00 in 2012-13.
Most people who use the food banks are not “regulars”.
The majority will visit the food bank only once in an emergency, caused – for example – by benefit delays or changes.
Each visitor is given a food parcel that lasts up to three days.
All food bank visitors are referred there by a professional such as a social worker or health visitor.
More than 90 per cent of food given out by Trussell Trust food banks nationally is donated by the public.
The trust’s national chairman Chris Mould said: “It is shocking that we’re seeing rising numbers of people needing to turn to food banks in 21st century Britain.
“And the trust food bank figures are just the tip of the iceberg of UK food poverty.”
People wanting to support the Lutterworth and Villages Food Bank can do so by taking non-perishable and undamaged food to one of the charity’s drop-off points.
These include St Mary’s Church in Lutterworth. For more information about your nearest drop-off point, or making a regular financial donation via standing order, contact Lynn Martin at email@example.com.
If you are interested in joining the scheme as a volunteer, contact Stephanie Heath at firstname.lastname@example.org.