A SHOCKING surge in the number of people struggling to feed themselves has led to Wirral’s food bank facing four times the predicted demand in its first year.
The church and community project, which celebrated its first birthday last week, has now provided food parcels for 4,088 people across the borough who are struggling to feed themselves and their families.
Trustees thought the food bank would feed only 1,000 people in its first year and said they were stunned at the number of Wirralians in need.
Since last November new distribution centres in Seacombe and New Brighton have opened to join the existing network of centres based at churches in Birkenhead. Another will open in Eastham before Christmas, with tentative plans for a distribution centre in Moreton.
Wirral Food Bank is now working with 59 different agencies to feed people in need.
Reverend Roy Cullen of Grange Baptist Church in Birkenhead, chairman of Wirral Food Bank, said there had been a “101% increase” in the number of vouchers redeemed in the last three months alone.
He said: “It’s partly awareness but also there are more people who are struggling and need our help.
“I’ve certainly seen an increase in people who’ve had problems with their benefits.
“One man who came told me he had lost his benefits for two weeks because he was ‘too short’ in his job searches.”
The food bank is supported by Riverside Housing, Salvation Army and churches of different faiths across the borough.
People in need must be referred by community-based support workers, health visitors, social workers and other frontline agencies using vouchers which can be exchanged at distribution centres.