FOODBANK bosses in the city have admitted they have begun to see a fall in donations of food and supplies as the cost-of-living crisis begins to hit their vital source of support.
Speaking to the Observer to mark the Lowesmoor lifeline’s tenth anniversary, manager Grahame Lucas said while financial donations were ‘holding up’ there had been a drop in donations.
That’s despite Worcester’s Foodbank feeding 944 people in the city in May, an increase of 13 per cent compared to the same month last year.
Mr Lucas said more than 800,000 meals had been handed out to people in crisis in the past decade while the number of people fed by the foodbank has risden sharply from 2,850 in the first full year to more than 11,600 in the last 12 months alone.
The impact of the pandemic and soaring cost of living has accelerated the increase in households needing its support according to the foodbank.
Low income remains the biggest cause of referrals to the charity ahead of delays and difficulties stemming from the payment of benefits and other causes including debt, domestic violence, delayed wages and homelessness.
The charity will mark the anniversary with an event to applaud the efforts of volunteers next week but the evening will evoke mixed emotions for everyone involved.
“It’s a bittersweet moment for all of us. Amid the despair and frustration of seeing so many people struggling, we also feel enormous gratitude for the compassion and generosity of our volunteers and the wider community that has supported us from day one,” Mr Lucas said
“Our mission has always been to ensure we reach a point where we are no longer needed and can close our doors but right now that has never felt further from our grasp.”
The seed for the city’s foodbank was planted by founder volunteer Ann-Marie Ison with the support of the charity’s trustees from All Saints Church.
After four years in premises on Carden Close, the rising demand for emergency food meant volunteers had to search for a bigger home.
Since 2016 it has operated from a much larger warehouse in Lowesmoor where the charity now regularly feeds around 1,000 people every month – more than a third of which are children.
Only the unwavering support of the local community has enabled the charity to keep pace with demand, with foodbank having received 723 tonnes of donated supplies since first opening.
Visit https://worcester.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-food for what’s on their shopping list.