Vital food banks lying empty as cost-of-living crisis bites into grocery supplies

Food supplies are running low at crucial food banks relied on by a record number of people, as donors tighten their belts amid soaring costs.

Organisers of the services in Lancashire say the cupboards of several banks have bare cupboards, with even numbers of plastic bags dwindling.

Frantic leaders now say they are facing double the demand but have little to give, Lancs Live reported.

Patrick Newland, of Skelmersdale and District Food Bank, said: “It’s been like the perfect storm – there’s too many issues going on in the world.

“So there was the ukraine -crisis> Ukraine crisis, then the energy crisis, and the cost of living, and it all seems to have piled up.

“People have not got as much money any more to donate, because obviously they’ve got to look after their own well being.

“We’re getting close to double the demand, I’d say, on some sessions, really, and it’s just a bit ridiculous with regard to supplies.

“We’re having to purchase food, so we used to rely on donations but we’re having to dip into monetary funds to try and supplement what we have.

“As soon as the food arrives, it’s gone again.”

He added as many as 100 people walk through its doors every day – double the number before the cost of living crisis hit.

Posting on Facebook, Skelmersdale and District Food Bank said last week: “We are putting out an urgent message.

“Our warehouse is extremely empty and we are desperate for items.. Please, if anyone could donate anything we would be so grateful.

“We are extremely short of everything but especially toothbrushes and tinned food.

“If you can donate anything please bring it along.”

Local pub The Kicking Donkey recently teamed up with local food bank Ormskirk Foodbank to launch a collection point after food supplies were reported to be running low.

Prolific Fylde food bank volunteer Diane Ireland, who set up Fresh Food for Working Families, said generous cash donations enabled the food bank to get fresh food, but highlighted soaring costs for some items, with butter and cheese up by nearly 70%.

She warned: “There is only a limited amount food banks can do to help with the challenges facing families.

“The people who are in a position to help, please step up and if you are able to, donate to your local food banks, tip your waiter or bar person a little bit more as minimum wage is going nowhere.

“All our workers on minimum wage are struggling to cope as they do not get the same entitlements, they need help as much if not more than our families on Universal Credit.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Work and Pensions said the government recognised people were struggling with rising prices which is why it was protecting millions of the most vulnerable people with at least £1,200 of direct payments, starting with the £326 cost of living payment, which had already been issued to more than seven million low income households.