Herefordshire food bank struggles to meet demand as crisis deepens

A HEREFORDSHIRE food bank is struggling to keep up with demand as the cost of living crisis deepens.

The Leominster Food Bank has seen the number of people in need of help double from March 2021 to March this year according to their latest statistics.

This is in addition to the distribution of 189 bags of fresh food to schoolchildren ahead of the Easter holidays.

Kathy Bland, who runs the Leominster Food Bank and FoodShare program, can see things get worse before they get better.

She said: “We are finding people who used to donate to the food bank who are coming in asking for help.

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“The numbers had stabilized in 2021 after a surge in 2020 due to Covid, but the cost of living crisis has sent them back up.

“We had double the number of people and three times the number of children we needed to help in March this year compared to last year.”

Ms Bland said more needed to be done to help desperate families in need of support.

She said: “I see family after family coming here and crying because they have to make a decision between feeding their children and feeding themselves, or feeding the family and heating the house.”

A user of the city’s FoodShare program, who did not want to be named, said: “We are a single income household with three young children. We are getting to the point where we can barely put food on the table. and sharing food is a real lifeline for us, as it is for many families.

“We have always kept an eye on our finances because we have never been rich, but recently it has become impossible to afford everything with soaring prices.”

The Leominster Food Bank has now been open for ten years, but it is not an anniversary that Ms Bland is keen to celebrate.

She said: “We have marked ten years by writing to our local MP to lobby Parliament to close us and all food banks and give people the support they need.

“They say we are part of the solution, but the very fact that we exist is the problem.”

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