"Overwhelmed.” One word sums up the state of one organisation struggling to cope with the increasing demand to feed the needy and vulnerable in our community.

We’re already aware of the pressure on foodbanks – the latest figures published recently by the Trussell Trust reveal that 350,000 people received a three-day food package from the organisation between April and September – three times as many as the same period last year – but other organisations who are helping to feed the city are also feeling the strain.

Alison Gardener, a major at Keighley Salvation Army, says they have been supporting people with food parcels and regular meals for 15 years but have never known demand as great. “I would say it has trebled,” she says.

“We have been overwhelmed by people. We have had more than 100.”

The 100 she refers to are the agency referrals they receive who are seeking food parcels weekly. On average they are also feeding warm meals to between 35 and 45 people on Tuesdays, and on Thursdays they supply soup and sandwiches.

Alison believes changes in the benefits system are contributing to some of the demand in referrals. “We have had 40 referrals from the Jobcentre over the last two weeks – people who have had their benefits stopped or their claim has been changed. But what happens when winter comes? What happens when it gets cold?” she asks.

But Alison says foodbanks aren’t the answer. She believes people need to be equipped with the skills to cope. “They need the skills to manage what they have.

“The problem doesn’t go away with a food parcel. There will always be people who cannot manage on what they are given if they don’t have the skills or the role models to show them how to manage. We are creating people who cannot manage, so they are teaching their children the same,” she adds.

To cope with the demand on the service, Keighley Salvation Army are appealing for volunteers to spare a couple of hours on Mondays and Tuesdays and four hours on Thursdays. Those interested can call into the High Street corps or call (01535) 603494.

Juli Thompson, project coordinator of Inn Churches, a network supporting the needy and vulnerable and providing accommodation in the winter months, says they have also seen demand ‘treble’.

Juli believes there are many reasons for people’s predicaments. Mental health issues, low incomes and reduced working hours are just some of the situations they have come across.

“We are seeing more and more people who are just on the borderline and they are not scrounging. It is very humbling to say ‘we don’t have any food in the cupboard’. We had one lady who had been living on potatoes for two weeks and another who had a half tin of soup for her and her terminally-ill partner, which had to last the weekend, so it’s great we can help them and Bradford is doing brilliantly at that,” says Juli.

It is almost a year since Zaara’s restaurant in Shipley collaborated with the Bradford Curry Project to provide a warm meal every Tuesday for those in need.

Restaurant owner, Harry Khinda, explains they got involved to help the organisation meet the demand. “When we started we were doing 30 to 40 meals a week. Now we are doing nearly 100 some weeks.

“More and more people are turning up, and not just people who are on the street but families as well who, for whatever reasons, can only afford four or five meals at home.

“It is hard to understand in this day and age in Britain. What is worse is you hear all these stories around the world and you think here in Britain in 2013 it is still a wealthy country. I know things have not been good for the last two years, but as a country we are wealthy and it is staggering people are having to turn to charity handouts.

“Whether it is jobs or Government cutbacks, something is not right and it is frightening because our children have to grow up in this country.

“Times have changed dramatically, particularly with the recession, because when the Curry Project set up it was for people living on the streets, but not any more. Something needs to be done somewhere.”