Reliance on food parcels soaring in North Cornwall
MORE people in North Cornwall are suffering as a result of poverty, with the number asking for free food at an all-time high.
Volunteers at Bude Foodbank distributed a record amount of food last month and the number of referrals is growing by the day.
Between April and September 184 families sought help from the foodbank, more than double the number in the same period last year.
Manager Keith Ponsford said: "The demand has grown enormously here in Bude and keeps on growing. In six months this year we've provided nearly 3.5 tonnes of food to people who need it."
Mr Ponsford said more than a third of those using the foodbank were finding it hard to make ends meet because of benefit problems.
"In September we had a huge month – our biggest ever – and it's starting to hit home how much of an impact the benefits issue is having," he said.
Volunteers at Wadebridge Foodbank and Storehouse report a similar increase in the number of people using the service.
Between April and October 1,925 people sought help from volunteers at the Wadebridge facility. In the same period last year the number was just short of 800.
Victoria Fraser from the Wadebridge Foodbank at Bridgend said: "Demand's growing year by year in Bodmin, Camelford and Wadebridge and the surrounding rural areas we cover."
Its manager Jacqui White predicted last year that an increasing number of people would be seeking help, and her prophesy has come true.
"We're in a privileged position at the foodbank, working with the local community and being able to provide for them and give something back," she said.
"Our figures are rising year on year and the number of people in the area who need the foodbank is staggering.
"It could happen to any one of us, and we're so grateful we're able to make a difference to people's lives."
The foodbank relies on donations of food and other items, and people throughout the area it serves have rallied to supply food, furniture and other household items to the needy.
Mrs White said: "We receive such kind donations of money and food from the general public and local businesses which we're incredibly grateful for.
"Recently we were awarded a grant of £2,000 from the Wadebridge Renewable Energy Network's Community Fund, and would like to thank everyone who voted for our project.
"This money will go towards helping local people in financial crisis, whether it's paying a bill or helping to fund a school uniform. We believe in helping people get back on their feet and giving them hope."