THIS CHRISTMAS is set to be busier than ever for Warwick and Leamington Foodbank.
Over the past 12 months the amount of people needing a three day emergency food supply has doubled as people struggle to make ends meet.
And local foodbank manager Andy Bower says he is expecting this dramatic increase to be shown in the number of families needing food over the festive period.
He told the Observer: “The largest group of people who will need our help this season are single parent families, although we never know for certain how many there will be in total.
“The run up to Christmas has been really busy and we have had to send extra supplies to our six distribution centres in the area.
“People have been getting their food early as the agencies which supply vouchers are closed, so subsequently we are not open either. If there is an emergency over the festive period then people will instead have to go to the Salvation Army or Leamington Night Shelter.”
Low income and debt problems have been cited as the most common reasons for people using the foodbank this festive season.
It is a turnaround from earlier this year, when benefit delays were behind most people needing emergency food supplies.
Mr Bower added: “The reasons behind people needing our services have changed with low income for people in work or on benefits now the most common cause.
“The second highest reason is debt, and although we cannot offer advice to these people we try to point them in the direction of agencies that can, which has so far been really successful.”
Those who need to use the foodbanks are given a voucher by a professional – such as a doctor or social worker – which then entitles them to a three day supply of long-life goods.
The foodbank collects donations all year and operates from six bases across Warwick, Whitnash and Lillington.
Visit warwickandleamington.foodbank.org.uk to find out how to donate.