A CHURCH charity which dispenses emergency food parcels to desperate families is trying to cope with a surge in demand as the recession bites.
Worthing Foodbank, run by the Jubilee Church, is now bracing itself for increased calls on its stockpile of tins and packets collected from superstores.
The Foodbank, which distributes supplies from the Salvation Army citadel, in Crescent Road, had, in the year up to November 10, helped 877 people – just one short of the entire total for 2009.
Colin Nichols, leader of Jubilee Church, believed numbers could rise even further in the next few years as hundreds of thousands of people nationwide were made redundant as a result of swingeing government spending cuts.
He said: “We have yet to see the potential job cuts that could come out of the recession.”
The foodbank, staffed by 37 volunteers, was founded in 2006 and has recorded a steady rise in clients who are referred by professional agencies.
People needing urgent help ranged from single mothers and women fleeing domestic violence to the unemployed who had run out of money and had nowhere else to turn.
Each client was entitled to a maximum of three vouchers a year to stop abuse of the system.
Colin said collections from superstores such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s had been stepped up from once every other month to once a month to keep up with demand.
Shoppers would often buy two of a product, such as a packet of pasta or a tin of soup, and donate one as they left the stores.
Colin said the goodbank was just about meeting demand, adding: “The growth has been fairly steady, which reflects the fact that more people are becoming aware of the bank.
“We work with 70-plus agencies around the town. We only work with professional agencies who refer people who are seen as being in crisis.
“There are a lot of people who are close to the edge. It’s certainly providing a need, but it’s not a long-term solution.”