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More use the foodbank
THE number of Swindon people needing emergency food is at an all-time high and a charity which feeds them predicts the figure will keep rising.
Swindon Food Bank has experienced a spike in people coming to it for help. About 150 people a week attend their centres – dotted around Swindon – hungry and in need of a meal. Some have not eaten for days.
This time last year, there were about 100 users. Organisers predict the numbers are going to increase by 40 per cent in the new year.
Alex Pollock, who works as a project manager at the charity, blamed a range of reasons for the hike in users.
He said: “People are losing their jobs, the cost of living is going up, benefits are being cut,” said Alex.
“If you are right at your limit and then something unexpected happens then where is that money going to come from to pay for it? I had to buy two tyres the other day for £100. I had to pay it because I need my car to work.
“But for people who don’t have any spare money they will have to pay for things like that with money they might have used for food.
“It’s demoralising for people as well. These people cannot feed themselves for whatever reason, some have not had a meal for days.”
He said a range of people use the service, from pensioners to families and even teenagers. Around one tonne of food is distributed a week around Swindon and people are given everything from cans of beans to soup.
“Sometimes we like to give people a little treat like chocolate or something like that,” Alex added. “We need to do more fundraising to make sure we can keep up with the demand. We rely on volunteers and always welcome new people.”
A spokesman for the charity said: “ In the last two months we held two supermarket collections in the town and collected over 3.5 tonnes of food, which gives us over 4,000 meals to be able to hand out.
“The people of Swindon have been amazingly generous and we would like to thank them for their continued support at this time. “As we go into harvest time we are expecting to collect over 10 tonnes of food from various organisations in Swindon during the next three months. It’s a very busy time for us.”
To raise money and awareness, the charity is hosting a hoedown on October 5, where there will be line dancers and a hog roast.
For more information visit www.swindonfoodbank.co.uk.