A Burnley food bank is appealing for help to cope with a 500% increase in demand from struggling families in desperate need of food and toiletries.
By June 6th the food bank, run by Community Solutions, had received 65 referrals from various agencies, compared to 61 referrals for the whole of June last year.
Food bank bosses say they are struggling to keep up with demand for the food parcels, which contain nonperishable food items such as tins, pasta, pasta sauce, rice, curry sauce and toiletries. So great is the need from families that the charity has also started to collect nappies and other baby essentials.
The food bank helps families across East Lancashire but Burnley is by far one of the most needy areas.
Miss Genevieve Waite, who works for Community Solutions, said 58% of referrals for food parcels go to families in Burnley and Pendle.
Miss Waite said: “It’s unbelievable. We are constantly trying to get more volunteers involved for fund-raising, packing at the warehouse in Burnley or delivering parcels.
“We are trying our hardest to keep up with demand and not leave these people without.”
Miss Waite said the majority of people who seek help are doing so short term because they have undergone change.
“We get referrals for people who are between benefits or people who have just got a new job and won’t get paid for six weeks.”
And she added that fewer than 5% of people receiving food parcels fit the stereotype.
“People are finding themselves in financial crisis. Once they are referred we deliver parcels for six weeks but a lot of people don’t need them for that full period.
“Sometimes they just need food for a couple of weeks to tide them over.”
Anyone wanting to volunteer should contact Community Solutions on 01254 352591.