Wakefield Express readers are filling up food bank - but more needs to be done to help starving families

St Catherine's Church food bank is experiencing a massive surge in demand due to changes to the benefits system. Compared to last year demand is up by 2300%. for the first time ever they are also seeing employed people and pensioners asking for help. Centre manager Lisa Grant in the church food store. (W541B338)
St Catherine's Church food bank is experiencing a massive surge in demand due to changes to the benefits system. Compared to last year demand is up by 2300%. for the first time ever they are also seeing employed people and pensioners asking for help. Centre manager Lisa Grant in the church food store. (W541B338)

A food bank has been inundated with calls from Express readers wanting to donate – as well as from hungry families struggling to feed their children.

Last week we reported that pressure was mounting on St Catherine’s Church in Agbrigg as it struggled to meet the growing the demand for help.

But readers have responded by turning up at the church with desperately needed donations to add to its food store.

However, more still needs to be done to help prevent families – including those with someone in full-time work – from starving.

Lisa Grant, centre manager, said: “The response has been great. On Monday morning we had only been open for five minutes when we had a phone call from a woman who said her husband was coming down with a donation.

“Then he turned up with a car which was absolutely jam-packed with food, more than a hundred pounds’ worth.

“About 50 per cent of the calls we have had are from people wanting to donate, but the other half have been from people needing our help.”

The church is desperately looking for a supermarket to become a regular donor, or a business which is willing to sponsor its food bank services.

Ms Grant said: “At the moment we are running on a day-to-day, hand-to-mouth basis. We really need a supermarket or a business to help guarantee an income and give us that security.”

The Salvation Army has also reported an increase in demand for food parcels which are distributed from its centre on Vicarage Street.

Major Colin Stevens said: “We are giving out quite a number of food parcels for families now as well as homeless people.

“A lot of people who we are helping have experienced problems with the benefits system, they may have lost their benefits or payments have been delayed.

“Homelessness is also a growing problem, you frequently see people in the town centre and a lot of people are sleeping on their friends’ sofas.”

To contact St Catherine’s Church Centre call 01924 211130. To contact the Salvation Army call 01924 382430.