Bradford’s foodbanks are experiencing massive demand from desperate families with the problem set to get worse as benefits are cut.
In December, the Bradford Metropolitan Foodbank expects to hand out a staggering 400 parcels, quadrupling the 100 parcels they handed out in December 2010 and double the amount they handed out last Christmas.
This year has seen their hand-outs rise sharply from 150 at the start of the year to 358 parcels handed out in October.
Meanwhile Bradford foodbank, part of the Trussell Trust and situated near Bradford Cathedral, has doubled the amount of parcels they hand out in 12 months from 50 each month last year to 100 this year and last month they handed out a ton of food.
In the last two months they have seen a 40 per cent increase in the volume of food given out.
Housing associations, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and charities and advice centres including the Girlington Advice Centre approach the foodbank on behalf of families and those with no money or access to benefits.
A family of six from Slovakia, with no benefits or work, had to be given food for their small children, as did a family with eight children, again who had no money or food, attending the Girlington centre.
Gareth Jones, the foodbank manager, said: “Of course it saddens you when you hear of a family in crisis, but I would like to say the community of Bradford is very generous in their support.
“We expect more of the same and we are just constantly growing and it is not going to slow down at this point in time.”
Ken Leach, the Metropolitan Food Bank co-ordinator, said: “I suspect the sharp rise is partly because more people are aware of us and people are finding it more of a struggle.
“Donations after the harvest festival will keep us going for another month. There has been only one month this year we have been below 200 parcels and we primarily help those people struggling with benefits.
“The demand makes us all try and work harder and next year might be even worse. I would like to see a solution, but I don’t.”
He pleaded with local businesses not to throw food out, but instead donate it to them.
“One company gave us palletloads of tins and it needs to be in the minds of decision makers that we can use that food,” he added.
To find out more, visit bradfordfood bank.com or bradford.foodbank.org.uk.