Worcester Foodbank may have to find an extra 30,000 meals as the full roll out of Universal Credit threatens to send demand for emergency food rocketing.
Centre manager Grahame Lucas says the charity fears it could see up to a 50 per cent rise in the number of mouths it has to feed over the coming year as the benefit changes begin to take effect this month.
That could leave the charity – which provided more than 6,200 emergency food parcels last year – facing the prospect of having to source an additional 30 tonnes of supplies in the next 12 months just to keep up with demand.
Mr Lucas said: “We’ve already seen in other parts of the country how Universal Credit has caused delays and problems that have triggered an explosion in foodbank use.”
“We’re preparing for the worst case scenario and we desperately need local people to keep giving as generously as they have been. Their support has sustained us and our clients through some very difficult times but this will be our biggest challenge to date.”
Worcester is set to join the growing list of towns and cities that have already been moved onto Universal Credit, which combines six working-age benefits into one monthly payment.
Volunteers remain hopeful that another bumper harvest will help it to weather the storm and the charity has also increased the frequency of its supermarket collections to bolster stock levels.
You can help foodbank by donating something from our harvest shopping list which features items that are urgently needed including toilet rolls, long life milk, tinned spaghetti and pasta sauce. The full shopping list is available at www.worcester.foodbank.org.uk