Families struggling to feed themselves - urgent help needed

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People desperatley struggling to feed themselves and their families need urgent help.

Charity volunteers say cuts to benefits and rising food and fuel prices are leaving growing numbers of people needing handouts to survive.

A foodbank at St Catherine’s Church in Agbrigg has distributed almost 1,600 food parcels so far this year - a 15-fold increase on the whole of 2012.

Centre manager Lisa Grant said the sick and disabled were among those turning up for support.

She said: “We are seeing pensioners, working families, people who have had their benefits changed. Some were on benefits and have been reassessed and told they are fit to go back to work.

“People are coming to us because they are desperately in need. It takes a huge amount of courage to walk in and ask for food.”

Ms Grant said the foodbank needed a supermarket or corporate partner to give it a regular cash income.

She said tinned fish and meat and milk were badly needed. She added: “We would love to work with a local dairy who could help us with milk.”

Restaurants have also been joining a scheme which donates £1 from food bills to the city’s homeless charities.

Bar Biccari in Horbury is the latest eatery to sign up to Streetsmart, which collects donations in November and December each year.

The Cowshed and Bella Roma, on Northgate, Smokehouse, on Wood Street, and Capri, on Bridge Road in Horbury, have already signed up.

To find out more log on to www.streetsmart.org.uk