People from all walks of life have been making use of South Elmsall’s food bank since it opened in November.
The Westfield Centre Food Bank has issued 371 people with 905 parcels, each containing three days’ worth of food.
Those to benefit have found themselves in crisis situations for many reasons, including poor health, abusive relationships or even families struggling to cope with benefit cuts.
The independent food bank is run by a committee made up of representatives from local churches, South Elmsall Town Council and South Elmsall Community Facilities Ltd, with the help of volunteers.
Committee chairman, Jim Tubman, said: “We work purely on a referral basis.
“If profesionals from places like children’s centres, GPs, the citizens advice bureau or the housing department think someone would benefit from our help, they issue vouchers on our behalf and people can use them to get food parcels, which will hopefully tide them over until their situation improves.
“There are some really heartbreaking situations that people are having to deal with, and many of them have children. We’re here to help address a real need.”
On Monday, the area Bishop for Wakefield, The Rt Rev Tony Robinson, was invited to the centre to meet committee members, volunteers and sponsors and to find out how it all worked.
Bishop Robinson was one of a number of clergymen who gave his backing to the national End Hunger Fast Campaign earlier this year, which aimed to highlight the work of foodbanks.
He said: “The foodbank at Westfield is doing an amazing job to help many people who are falling through the net and struggling to make ends meet because of situations they are finding themselves in.
“A few years ago, we wouldn’t have expected to see so many people relying on emergency food supplies. It’s a problem that has mainly been caused by changes to the benefits system.”
Mr Tubman said they aimed to provide a balanced diet and that the foodbank was particularly in need of protein-rich items like tinned fish and meat.
He said: “We cover such a large area, from Upton to South Hiendley, Havercroft and Ackworth. Individuals and businesses are always very generous with their help, but high-protein items are what we struggle to source.”
Food donations can be handed in at the Westfield Lane centre or at various shops throughout the town. Cash donations are welcome too.
The foodbank is open every Friday from 10am until 2pm.