Ludlow Food Bank demand at highest ever level
Demand for parcels from Ludlow Food Bank has been the highest in its history according to organisers.
The food bank gave out 207 food parcels in the past six months, with enough food to feed 524 people for a week, including 240 children.
In 2018, the food bank helped 451 individuals and in 2017 it was 315 individuals over the whole year - a figure surpassed in just the last six months.
Ruth Davies, food bank coordinator, said: "May shows an unprecedented number of children being helped – before that the most children we had helped in one month was 50 in December 2015. In the last five years the average number of children helped each month has been 18.
"The thought of so many children facing hunger has really been quite upsetting. Thankfully we have been there to help families in crisis.
"We have helped a lot of large families this year, which has meant that our food supplies have been running out frequently. As a result our financial reserves are being depleted quite rapidly. Many people are really struggling at present, usually due to an unexpected crisis.
"The most common reason for needing a food parcel has been problems with benefits. This may be mistakes, delays or sanctions. We have seen a small increase in the numbers of people fleeing domestic violence. Most of the homeless people have been staying with friends, known as sofa surfing or housed at the Travelodge. There is one man who is living in a tent."
The majority of those receiving the food parcels live in Ludlow (93 per cent) or the Clee Hill area. South Shropshire Housing Association, Citizens Advise Bureau and churches have been the largest referrers this year.
Ruth added: "We are very grateful for all donations of food or money, the food we give out is mostly in tins or packets, although we do have a freezer where we can store frozen ready meals. These are sometimes brought to us following house clearances. We have collection points in Tesco, One Stop (Tower Street and East Hamlets), Broad Street Methodist Church, St Laurence's church, Ludlow Baptist Church (Rockspring Centre), White Stuff and many churches in local villages.
This year the charity was chosen as the Mayor of Ludlow's Charity of the Year along with Pricklebums Hedgehog Charity. The charity also received a grant from Meres and Mosses Housing Association to increase storage. Finally the Lower Broad Street Residents' Association raised over £600 from a plant and produce sale.
The charity aims to raise further funds at the mayor's charity market on August 29.