"The Preston community has come together": City foodbank sees demand increase by 500 per cent in pandemic

Foodbanks across Lancashire have seen increased demand since March, as Luv Preston founder Jack McVicar tells the Post.

Wednesday, 4th November 2020, 3:41 pm
Preparing food parcel deliveries has continued throughout the Covid-19 pandemic

Deliveries of vital food parcels have increased by as much as 500 per cent during lockdown according Jack McVicar, who cofounded the charity with wife Susan.

Based at the Freedom Centre church, Ashton and St Christophers in Lea, Luv Preston offer a weekly food bank service, delivering food packages to families and individuals facing hardships in the community.

The charity also offers a homeless drop-in, at St Wilfred’s Community Centre, Chapel Street, providing nutritious and wholesome meals to rough sleepers.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Luv Preston has continued to work with the likes of local supermarkets and UCLan to prepare and deliver food packages

Luv Preston founder Jack Mcvicar spoke of the growing issue of food poverty in Preston and said that he approaches families and individuals with no judgement throughout the pandemic.

He said: "Food poverty is becoming an increasing problem in our city with some families and individuals struggling to put food on the table due to issues like debt, benefit sanctions and relationship breakdowns.

"In a normal year, we would have our drop-in soup kitchen that sees around 100 people attend, feed them a hot meal and give them takeaway food as well as essential items for their cupboards as well as deliver between 30 and 40 food parcels into the community.

"This year, the soup kitchen was cancelled due to coronavirus, and our deliveries have gone up by 500 per cent, delivering to thousands of families and individuals across Preston over the past eight months."

The group currently uses St Wilfreds church, at Preston's Winckley Square to give out cups of hot stew every week, giving out up to 40 cups a day to those in need of a warm cooked meal.

Since launching the charity 15 years ago, Jack said that this year he has truly noticed the spirit of the Preston community coming together during difficult times.

He added: "Ourselves and the people in Preston have really risen to the occasion and gone above and beyond to give and donate. I have noticed the joy it gives people to donate in these difficult situations. That is what has truly come out of all of this.

"Over Christmas we expect to see a surge in the increase of people needing food parcels. I suspect it will start to click with people the situation we are in. Not having jobs and constant income coming through is scary for many people.

"It is a very tough time for people who are already worried about debts and their finances. We are most definitely seeing the self-employed and working-class people start to use our services. People are struggling with their reduced income meaning families are finding it more difficult to survive in the modern world.

"We have learnt to never judge a home that we approach. Whether there are two cars on the drive or they live in an affluent area we don't ask questions or make judgements. We do not know what goes on behind closed doors in people's lives."

The Lancashire Post is more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism. For unlimited access to Lancashire news and information online, you can subscribe here: https://www.lep.co.uk/subscriptions