A year on from its launch, volunteers say demand for Penwortham’s food bank is steadily growing.
During the last 12 months there have been more than 400 visits to the foodbank and over 8,000 items given away to the needy, at sessions which run between 9.30am and 12.30pm on Fridays at Penwortham Community Centre in Kingsfold Drive.
Organised by the town’s Churches Together group, the foodbank relies on the dedication of up to 50 volunteers and donations from schools, supermarkets and members of the community.
Volunteer John Atkins said: “At the start it was very quiet and we’d get one or two people coming along, but it’s gradually built up.
“Demand reached a peak around Christmas and then levelled off again. Now we’re seeing 20 to 25 people every Friday which is quite busy.”
Visitors to the foodbank are able to choose what items they pick up, based on their family size and needs.
The volunteers aim to provide a balanced diet to last a household three days.
John added: “We get a few homeless people coming to the foodbank, but it’s typically people hit by the bedoom tax. There are a few families who come along, but a lot are older and there’s some couples.
“Some people do feel afraid to come in, but some are fairly frequently. We get to know them and they’re quite happy to talk about their situation.
“Obviously it’s not ideal if someone is visiting us permanently, we want to get them to a stage where they don’t need us.
“Now we’re a year old we’re reviewing how we operate and trying to be more realistic in how we give food and trying to find out specifics on what people need and how we help.”
The foodbank works in close collaboration with other foodbanks in the area including the Salvation Army at Harrington Road in Preston.
Donations of food including tea, coffee, sugar, tinned fish such as salmon and tuna, and tinned meat such as corned beef are in shorter supply than items such as pasta, tinned soups and baked beans.
Donations can be dropped off at any Penwortham primary school, at Booths in Millbrook Way, or at the Community Centre in Kingsfold.