Corby Foodbank is recruiting volunteers and extending its opening hours as it prepares to help struggling families face tougher times ahead.
The foodbank, which provides three-day emergency food parcels to people in need, was launched last March and Adam Boud, its director, said more and more people are being referred to the charity.
He said: “We are expecting to be even busier after the benefit changes come into effect in April.
“A large number of those we help are families on low income who are struggling to put meals on the table. Gas and electricity bills are going up, along with everything else, and food shopping is the only part of their budget that they can cut.”
Since June the foodbank has helped feed 699 children and adults in Corby.
Of those, the largest group of people referred to the foodbank for help, accounting for 28 per cent, was those experiencing difficulties because of benefit delays. The next biggest group was families on low incomes.
Mr Boud said; “It’s very hard for people to come to the foodbank even though we do everything we can to make it easy. It takes a lot of courage and sometimes people are in tears.”
The foodbank, part of the charity The Trussell Trust, is one of around 300 operating in the UK where 13m people are living below the poverty line.
It now operates three times a week but there are plans to introduce a fourth session, starting from this month.
Based at premises in Princewood Road, Corby, the foodbank is run by volunteers, with one paid employee who works three days a week and Mr Boud, whose time is gifted by his church, completing the team.
Some donations come from local food producers but most are from individuals, churches in the town and collections held at Asda and Morrisons supermarkets.
Mr Boud said: “People are very generous. There is one group of ladies, who want to stay anonymous, who make a donation of food every month. We have about two-and-a-half tons of food in store because we can never run out.
“We are very grateful for the support we receive, as are the people we help. We wouldn’t be here without the support of the community and our volunteers.
“My greatest wish is that there will eventually be no need for the foodbank but the demand is growing. It’s an upward trend.”
People are referred to the foodbank by dozens of agencies and groups in Corby, including the borough council, the Citizens Advice Bureau and the JobCentre.
Mr Boud said: “We are here helping families who find themselves in a real crisis. Since we opened there has been less than five people who have received food more than three times in a six-month period.
“Every referral is a genuine case of need and there is no abuse of the help on offer.”
The foodbank is hoping to recruit more volunteers and welcomes cash donations, as well as dried and tinned food.
If you would like to help in any way please telephone 01536 737578.