More than 500 emergency food supplies have been handed out by the Oswestry and Borders Foodbank in six months, new figures have shown.
Between April 1 and September 30, 2017, the three-day emergency food supplies were provided to local people in crises, with 363 of the packages being given to children.
The Trussell Trust’s foodbank network has reported an increase in UK use, and believes the local rise in numbers is because of people struggling with low wages, insecure work, benefits changes and delays, sickness and having no fixed address.
The months leading up to Christmas see a particular spike in foodbank use.
Liz Jermy, manager of Oswestry and Borders Foodbank said: “Every week people are referred to us after something unavoidable - like illness, a delayed benefit payment or an unexpected bill - which means there’s no money for food.
“It’s only with local people’s help that we’re able to provide vital support when it matters most, and while we hope one day there’ll be no need for our work, until that day comes we’ll be working hard to help prevent people going hungry.
“Thank you so much to everyone who already donates time, food and money to help local people. If you’re not already involved, we’d love to hear from you.”
Oswestry and Borders Foodbank is concerned about the future rollout of full Universal Credit in the area, following evidence from other areas which have seen six-week waiting lists leading to debt, mental health issues and rent arrears.
The town foodbank is preparing to help by holding an IT Drop In on Wednesdays from 10am to 12 noon, for job searches, benefit checks and maintaining Universal Credit accounts. Volunteer mentors will be available to help.
The foodbank welcomes any new offers of help with funding – local businesses, organisations and individuals interested in supporting the foodbank’s work can find out more at email@example.com or www.oswestryandborders.foodbank.org.uk.