A fledgling food bank has handed out nearly 220 food parcels to needy families in just three months.
Our Food Bank, which operates in Rishton, Great Harwood, and Clayton-le-Moors as well as Altham also saw cries for help nearly double during December as the cost of Christmas started to bite.
Figures from food bank bosses showed how 101 food parcels were sent to 37 households in December 2014, compared to 58 parcels in October.
Dan Theobalds, a member of the steering group, said the parcels have been ‘equally distributed’ across the townships with many new households applying each month.
He said: “It’s going really well at the moment. There was a bit more need closer to Christmas and we would love to get to the point where we are not needed but we still are.
“We are finding we are having lots of new clients every month so it’s not the same people all the time. Quite a lot of people are just needing help to tide them over. They are people who have perhaps got jobs but haven’t been paid for the six weeks from getting the job to their first pay cheque.
“The vast majority of people we deal with are really, really grateful and are trying their best to get back on their feet.”
A team of around 20 volunteers, based at Orchard Street Methodist Church in Great Harwood, collects donated food from collection points around the borough on Tuesdays and Thursdays before packaging and distributing them to families later the same day.
Four more people are currently going through the application process to become a volunteer and said that everything is now ‘running smoothly’ since opening a few months ago.
Collection points have been placed at nearly a dozen schools, churches and community centres in Great Harwood along with The People’s Centre, St Charles Church and the Methodist Church in Rishton and The Annex and St Mary’s Church in Clayton-le-Moors.
Dan, who works as a deputy headteacher in Lower Darwen, said: “We are getting a lot of referrals from Community Solutions or agencies rather than people ringing up and self-referring. I’m really surprised when looking at the figures as there is a very equal spread across the three townships.
“I thought that perhaps there would be one higher than the others but that isn’t the case.”
Call the food bank on 07594 478093.