Ludlow Food Bank sees huge rise in demand
A rural food bank handed out an unprecedented number of parcels in the first three months of the year.
Between January and March, Ludlow Food Bank gave out 117 parcels to people in need.
Ruth Davis, co-ordinator, said the figures were "shocking".
Last year the food hub handed out its 117th parcel in June and in 2015 the food hub did not reach that figure until November.
"We are seeing so many people with a delay in getting their Universal Credit benefit," Ruth said.
"It takes so long to get it sorted out and there is a five week wait for the first payment. Although you can have an advance, it means you will be paying it off for the next year. People don't want to take it because they know they know it's going to put them into debt."
Other reasons for claiming food parcels included homelessness, financial difficulties and health issues.
Despite the huge demand, Ruth said the food bank is coping well thanks to generous donations.
"We are coping mainly because we have put out many appeals," she said.
"We've had so much food given to us recently it's unbelievable. People in Ludlow are incredible and so generous.
"Our volunteers are having to work so much harder now but we are very, very blessed to have the support from people in Ludlow. If we didn't have them we would not be coping at all."
In 90 days, Ludlow Food Bank helped 79 single adults, 76 married adults and 118 children.
Ruth added: "I keep looking at the figures and thinking it can't be right, but it is. The worst part for me is that there is so many children involved.
"Some of the cases we have seen have been quite heartbreaking They are having to live on a handout and it's incredibly sad."
The food bank, based in Ludlow Baptist Church, needs donations of coffee, sugar, long-life milk, tinned potatoes, soup and baked beans.