Festive donations soar amid growing Foodbank need

Foodbank volunteers with Christmas donations
Foodbank volunteers with Christmas donations
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Foodbank volunteers are celebrating a Christmas of treats and record donations as they look back on two years and increasing need for help.

As it welcomed a £2,000 donation from Warwick District Council’s main contractors this month, volunteers at Warwick and Leamington Food Bank said the festive season has bought even greater support across the two towns.

Tanya Dawson from Warwick District Council with contractors, Teresa Grey, Anthony Wilkins, Steve Pearson and Roy Briscoe. The group made a �2,000 donation to Andy Bell from Warwick and Leamington Foodbank.

Tanya Dawson from Warwick District Council with contractors, Teresa Grey, Anthony Wilkins, Steve Pearson and Roy Briscoe. The group made a �2,000 donation to Andy Bell from Warwick and Leamington Foodbank.

Set up in July 2013, the volunteer-led service now delivers emergency food parcels to more than double the number of people it once did.

It now hands out up to 500 kilos of food each week in an increase which has been put down to greater knowledge of the service, and more people being desperately in need.

Volunteer, Andy Bower said demand has increased rapidly in the past 12 months, with the Christmas period bringing more donations and users through the doors.

He said: “Our demand has increased almost 100 fold, we now help 225 people a month.

Foodbank volunteers with Christmas donations

Foodbank volunteers with Christmas donations

“Christmas is a very busy time and on top of the increase in users we are seeing anyway, things are very busy. But we also make sure all the parcels have Christmas treats in, that is very important.

“It is sad we have to do what we do but if we were not here then people would go hungry. It is as simple as that.

The majority of users are now referred because of low income - not benefit changes as was the main draw last year.

Run under the Trussell Trust charity, the Foodbank opens up in a different location each day of the week with 70 volunteers.

Centres are based in Whitnash, Lillington, Westbury Centre and the Saltisford, St Mary’s and St Paul’s churches.

Session leader, Miriam Bowen said with Christmas approaching, they made sure every family had some extras to celebrate this year.

She said: “We get a lot of extra goodies donated, it is all about adding that little something in be it mince pies or a pudding or advent calendars for the children. We get a lot of treats donated and it is lovely to be able to give it all out.”